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Windows 7 beats Vista in worldwide use

Globally, Windows 7 has surpassed Windows Vista in less than a year — although Windows Vista users might tell you that doesn't surprise them. But Windows XP, Vista's predecessor, still has the lion's share of users worldwide and in the United States.

Vista, perhaps Microsoft's most reviled operating system, was replaced by Windows 7 last September, arguably ahead of schedule but not a moment too soon for Microsoft. The company was inundated with complaints about Vista — from its slowness to its overzealous security protections, gripes that stuck even a year after the operating system was greatly improved. Vista was released in 2007. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

NetApplications, which does Web analytics, said of all versions of Windows operating systems,  XP — which came out in late 2001 — continues to dominate with 61.87 percent of the market globally; Windows 7 has 14.46 percent; and Windows Vista, 14.34 percent.

In the United States, Vista is holding on a bit better. XP is still king, but with a more diminished 44.26 percent of Windows users. Vista maintains second place, with 23.31 percent in the U.S. Meanwhile, 16.09 percent use Windows 7, NetApplications said.

In many countries outside the U.S., lower-cost systems that use XP have continued to sell, but the statistical difference between the U.S. and the rest of the world may also mean that more U.S. XP users traded up to Vista before Windows 7 came out.

Over the last year, Windows' share of the overall operating system pie has declined, from 93.04 percent last July to 91.32 percent at the end of July.

Mac is up slightly from a year ago worldwide, from 4.86 of all operating systems to 5.06 percent. Linux is actually down, from 1.05 percent to .93 percent.

The biggest growth — while still a small portion of the overall figures — has come from mobile phone operating systems. The iPhone went from .30 percent last July to .70 percent; Java Mobile Edition, from .29 percent to .78 percent; and in the "other" category, which includes Android, BlackBerry and Palm, from .46 percent to 1.2 percent.