Is Microsoft Corp.’s drive to get computer users off its geriatric XP operating system and onto its touch-based Windows 8 OS slowing down?

Windows 8’s user share in October climbed to 10.2 per cent for the first time since its launch a year ago. The new OS’s share of computing devices included its most recent iteration, Windows 8.1.

The gain was sluggish though compared to past advances, according to metrics company Net Applications. It only represented half the monthly average over the last 12 months and a third of the increase for September.

While Windows 8 grew only slightly and Windows 7 stayed flat, the move to retire Windows XP slowed down in October.

The next two months will be critical in gauging Windows 8 and Windows 8.1’s performance, according to a report on the online technology publication’

Industry watchers are also cautious about how the switch to Windows 8.1 and new tablet devices released by Microsoft will revive Microsoft’s fortunes.

Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, expects revenues to be around $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion for the fourth quarter. She said the business PC market will remain stable but the consumer PC market will experience more volatility.

The 12-year-old Windows XP lost just one-tenth of a percentage point of share, falling to 34.5 per cent of all Windows machines slowing down the mass migration expected before Microsoft’s April 2014 deadline.

Last week, Microsoft sought to drum up interest in replacing XP by citing data from its malware cleaning tool that user who fail to ditch the OS before its retirement face a 66 per cent increase in malware infection.

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