Microsoft recently received some promising news in terms of market share as both Windows 7 and Windows 8 saw notable gains as 2012 came to a close. According to Net Applications, Windows 8 gained 0.66 percentage points in December, bringing its total from 1.11 percent to 1.77 percent.

In the same respect, Windows 7 usage jumped 0.40 percent, good for 45.11 percent of the overall OS market. The report notes that this is the first time that Windows 7 usage has eclipsed the 45 percent market, a significant achievement in its own right.

Windows Vista appears to now be on a steady decline as it lost 0.03 percentage points, falling to 5.67 percent. Even worse is Microsoft's dated XP operating system, dropping nearly a full percentage point (0.74, to be exact). But even still, XP still commands 39.08 percent of the overall market - impressive for such an old operating system at this point in its life.

We will have to wait until the end of January to see the true impact of Windows 8 following the holidays, however. But in the overall scope of things, it's good news for Microsoft as they have seen their market share drop over the past several months. Combined, Windows gained 0.29 percent between November and December for a total share of 91.74 percent. OS X and Linux dropped 0.23 percent and 0.06 percent, respectively.

Data was collected from 160 million unique users across roughly 40,000 different websites.