Microsoft was tight lipped about the success or failure of its Windows 8 operating system sales-wise. The only figure the company released was the four million upgrades in three days remark that Steve Ballmer made after the first weekend the operating system was on sale.
Today, Microsoft revealed that it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the first month after release. Is that number good or bad? That depends on a number of factors, especially whether the 40 million refers to copies sold to retailers or end-users. The former would mean that a substantial amount of copies is still sitting on shelfs, the latter that 40 million copies have been sold to end users and that more copies than that are sitting on shelfs.
We do not know which is which but the complaint is not unique to Windows 8 or Microsoft, as other companies often fail to reveal what copies sold means either. 40 million copies sold puts Windows 8 right in the ballpark of Windows 7, Microsoft's successful predecessor which sold over 60 million copies in the first ten weeks which made that operating system the fastest selling in history.
Tami Reller, Microsoft corporate vice president, noted at the Credit Suisse 2012 Annual Technology Conference that Windows 8 is also outpacing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades. This should not come as a surprise as Microsoft is heavily discounting upgrades to Windows 8. Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 users can purchase an upgrade for $39.99, or $14.99 if they have bought a qualifying PC running Windows 7. That offer runs out on January 31, 2013 and it will be interesting to see how the system performs sales-wise after that promotional period. It is also likely that some users have bought upgrades in order to take advantage of the promotional price but did not install them yet on any machine they own.
According to Ars Technica, Reller also revealed metrics during the conference. 50% of users visited the store on the first day, and some store apps have crossed the 1 million download mark or $25,000 revenue mark.
40 million, as heavily discounted as they are, still indicates that Windows 8 is doing quite well right now sales-wise. For Microsoft, it is definitely a good start even though not a great earth-shattering one.
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