October was a topsy-turvy month for Microsoft -- both for its browsers as well as its operating systems, according to the latest figures from Web analytics firm Net Applications. The report also has a few surprises.
For instance, Net Applications revealed that, of the 10 million people who have downloaded and are using Internet Explorer 9 Beta in the past six weeks, the vast majority of them are running Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) beta browser on Windows 7.
"Our browser usage numbers show that Internet Explorer 9 Beta has grown about 2.5 times from 0.61 percent in September to 1.46 percent in October on the Windows 7 platform. Worldwide, Internet Explorer 9 Beta represents 0.32 percent of browser usage share across all operating systems," a Net Applications report said.
Also in October, according to Net Applications' calculations, Windows XP finally fell below 60 percent -- 59.07 percent -- of global operating system use. It is still the most installed operating system, however.
Microsoft has been trying for the past several years to move users away from XP. On October 22, the company quit allowing PC makers to pre-install XP on new PCs, although some volume customers still have the right to request "downgrade rights" -- so determined customers can still get XP.
Even without the new restrictions, XP's slippage has been fairly consistent over the past year. For example, use of XP fell by 10 percentage points in the past year.
In contrast, the graph of Windows 7's growth in usage has been the classic hockey stick curve of a sure hit. Microsoft announced in late October that Windows 7 had sold more than integration of Bing search and advertising technologies into Yahoo's search sites, though, a combination of Bing's and Yahoo's search share would come out to 9.55 percent share.