Preston Gralla

Windows 7: King of operating systems, even when Windows 8 ships

July 02, 2012 2:20 PM EDT

It's nearly official: Windows 7 this month will become the world's most popular operating system, surpassing Windows XP. And don't expect Windows 8 to take away the crown, because it's not at all likely.

Gregg Keizer reports in Computerworld that Net Applications says Windows 7 will overtake Windows XP some time this month. In June, Net Applications says, Windows XP had 43.6% market share, while Windows 7 had 41.6% market share. In July, the company expects Windows 7 to get 42.7% market share, just ahead of XP's 41.7%. From there on, there will be no looking back for Windows 7.

As for Windows 8, Net Applications isn't taking any guesses. But expect Windows 7 to rule for a long time, because Windows 8 doesn't look as if it's going to gain corporate acceptance. Consumers will buy it because in essence they'll be forced to if they want to buy a new computer. But don't expect many consumer upgrades, because the Metro-centric interface was designed more for tablets than PCs. And corporations will likely be put off not just by the new design, but by the enormous amount of money they would have to put into help desk and IT support.

Will Windows 7 rule for more than 10 years, as Windows XP did? That's hard to know. But I think it will always be more popular than Windows 8, because of the new operating system's tablet-centric design. Windows 8 is perfectly suited for tablets, and may even be a better tablet operating system than Android. It also looks ideal for smartphones. For PCs not so much, though.

So say hello to Windows 7, the new king of operating systems. It will likely reign for a long time.