Microsoft's Windows XP will be the dominant operating system on the web by next year, according to the latest worldwide usage figures.
But it has failed to match the initial pace set by Windows 98.
Windows XP's worldwide usage has risen sharply in just its second week of release. As of 5 November, the new operating system's global usage share had risen to 2.36 per cent, according to StatMarket, a source for data on global internet user trends.
Global usage share is the percentage of daily internet users worldwide that are using a particular operating system. The StatMarket data is based on information gathered from more than 50 million internet visitors a day to more than 125,000 sites worldwide.
Geoff Johnston, vice president of product marketing at StatMarket, said: "If the past is any indication, Windows XP will be the dominant operating system on the web by this time next year."
Operating system adoption rates vary widely from country to country, according to Johnston. Internet users in Germany, for example, have embraced Windows XP much more quickly than Web surfers in Japan - 4.43 per cent to 0.67 per cent respectively.
StatMarket also found that Microsoft's Windows 98 is currently the leading operating system on the web, accounting for about half of all operating-system versions worldwide. It surpassed its predecessor, Windows 95, in April 1999, less than a year after its release.
A separate report from market tracker NPD Intelect showed that US retailers sold 300,000 units of Windows XP Professional and Home editions in the first three days after launch, just three quarters of the comparable figure Microsoft achieved with Windows 98.
Comparable retail sales of Windows ME were slightly above 200,000 units while sales of Windows 98 were almost double at 400,000 units, according to NPD Intelect.
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