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Enterprise firms are finally moving off the ageing Windows XP platform, according to Microsoft, as the firm claimed that the Windows 8.1 release to manufacturing (RTM) build has been downloaded over two million times since it was made available to developers on Tuesday.
Speaking in a keynote at Intel's Developer Forum (IDF), Microsoft's vice president of marketing Tami Reller claimed that the majority of its enterprise customers are now migrating away from Windows XP, for which all support will be withdrawn next year.
Reller said the firm has "now seen about three quarters of Windows enterprises moving to modern desktops" from Windows XP, with the last leg of Windows XP migrations being spurred by the imminent availability of Windows 8.1. However, Reller did not offer a breakdown of the enterprise uptake of Windows 8 compared to Windows 7, both of which are counted by Microsoft as modern desktops.
Meanwhile, the Windows 8.1 RTM build has been downloaded over two million times since Microsoft released it to TechNet and MSDN subscribers, according to the firm.
"It's a big week this week for Windows 8.1; we've seen incredible uptake already. So far on Windows 8.1 we've seen more than two million downloads, so it's definitely getting a bit of chatter out there in the marketplace," said Reller.
The two million downloads figure suggests two things: that Windows 8 developers see the Windows 8.1 release as a much-needed update, and that Microsoft was right to reverse its original intent to withhold the final code build until its general availability later this year.
On stage, Reller said the Windows 8.1 release shows that the software house will "respond and listen" to suggested improvements to Windows 8, promising that Windows 8.1 is "a good example of [Microsoft] doing both of those things".
Microsoft hopes that the updates in Windows 8.1 will help change the minds of those customers who dislike how different the operating system feels in relation to earlier releases.
"It gives the audience a chance for Windows 8 to be familiar again, whether it's the Start button, whether it's the ability to boot to desktop, whether it's the old apps view or just the ability to turn off Charms if you're in a keyboard type of environment," Reller added.
"We've made third-party apps even easier to use with the mouse and keyboard so there's a lot of innovation coming in 8.1."