More than 100 million people are now using Windows 10

Windows 10

Microsoft's free upgrade strategy for Windows 10 during the first year of release is paying off, as Windows 10's market share continues to steadily climb.

After claiming 5.21% of the worldwide desktop operating system market share in August, Net Applications reported that Windows 10 now has 6.63% of the market in September.Despite its climb, Windows 10 is still only the fourth largest desktop operating system, trailing older Windows versions.

Windows 7 is still in first place with 56.53% of the market, a slight decrease from the 57.67% it held in August. Windows XP claims 12.21% of the market, and Windows 8.1 has 10.72% of the market. All three operating systems saw declining market share moving from August to September, according to the same report.

More than 100 million-strong

Microsoft's aggressive strategy with Windows 10, which has seen its share of criticism, is also driving the Windows 10 market share numbers. A month into the release of the desktop OS, Microsoft reported that Windows 10 was installed on more than 75 million devices. Now, unofficial reports suggest that the number is closer to 100 million devices.

With Microsoft's change in strategy in delivering Windows as a service, rather than as software, Microsoft is pushing install bits for Windows 10 to existing Windows PC owners, even if they haven't chosen to upgrade yet. Although the strategy makes it easier for users to upgrade when they're ready, users were upset as the 3 to 6GB downloads took up precious storage on their machines, and the downloads were said to also occur on metered connections, which cost money.

Windows 10's market share will continue to grow when enterprises begin migrating to the new OS.

Sixth generation processors

Another driver for Windows 10 growth in the near future is Windows devices pre-loaded with new processors from Intel and AMD.

Intel launched its sixth generation processor, known as Skylake, which comes with better support for the OS, and AMD's new sixth generation processors promise stronger graphics and CPU performance. The newly unveiled AMD A12 Pro processor is targeted at business systems, and AMD executives say A12 Pro-powered notebooks, like the HP EliteBook 705 G3, could rival mobile workstations while delivering longer battery life in a thinner form factor.

As users begin replacing their aging machines with new desktops, laptops and tablets featuring AMD's and Intel's latest chipsets, we'll see Windows 10's claim of the market continue to increase. Manufacturers are readying new form factors and devices that make a hardware upgrade more enticing, and there is also strong interest for a possible Microsoft Surface Pro 4,which we expect to be announced nextweek.

Collectively, Windows owns 95.37% of the desktop OS market. Apple's OS X 10.10 has 4.91% of the market, while Linux comes in with 1.74%. Apple also recently debuted its new OS X 10.11 El Capitan operating system, which could impact the market share for OS X 10.10 Yosemite.