Windows 7 the OS of choice for PCs

Windows 7 Takes the Lion's Share
But how will Windows 8 affect the OS rankings?

With nary a fanfare, Windows 7 has finally cemented itself as the operating system of choice for a majority of the world's PCs.

At least, that's according to the latest figures from StatCounter, which maintains that Windows 7 commanded a market share of 50.2 percent of all measured desktops this past June.

According to the site, the web analytics service runs a tracking code on more than three million different sites on the Web.

That amounts to billions of page views per month, each of which is analyzed according to a number of different parameters that StatCounter is looking to track: Mobile usage, search engine referrals, browser types, et cetera.

Following a few tweaks to remove bot activity and adjust for situations like Google Chrome page prerendering, StatCounter dumps the full body of "independent, unbiased" stats for public consumption each month.

"In other words we calculate our Global Stats on the basis of more than 15 billion page views per month, by people from all over the world onto our 3 million+ member sites," reads a FAQ on StatCounter's site.

Windows XP gives way to Windows 7

Even if pundits want to pick apart the specific figures, the overall trend remains: Windows 7 is on the up, and it's been (mostly) eating away at the Windows XP user base for some time now.

The two operating systems last clashed in October of 2011 when StatCounter's analytics revealed that Windows 7 had finally overtaken Windows XP with a market share of 40.5 percent to 38.5 percent.

Of course, Windows 7 still has a bit of a ways to go before it reaches Windows XP's previous dominance, a market share of nearly 77 percent as measured by StatCounter in December of 2008.

The looming question remains: Just how high will Windows 7's market share hit before Windows 8 begins to cannibalize sales?

And, more importantly, will Windows 8 exclusively pull from Windows 7's market base - an odd upgrade path for users, given the core similarities between the two operating systems - or will serve as one more nail in Windows XP's coffin?