When it comes to Windows 8, Microsoft has only made two announcements so far in regards to how many licenses the company's most recent operating system has sold. Back in January 2013 it reported that 60 million licenses had been sold to end users and manufacturers who create devices that are powered by the operating system.
Microsoft today revealed that sales have recently surpassed the 100 million license mark which includes standalone licenses and licenses that shipped with new PCs and tablets. The figure puts it in the same ballpark sales-wise as its predecessor Windows 7 which reached the 100 million licenses goal by April 2010 after being released in October 2009.
The overall sales figures are nearly identical but that does not necessarily mean that the ratio of Windows 8 systems that end users make use of is identical as well.Microsoft did not disclose volume-sales figures, that is licenses that it sold to enterprises, and did not disclose if Windows RT licenses were included in the sales figure or not.
Usage statistics suggest that the end user adoption rate of Windows 7 was higher than the adoption rate of Windows 8 is right now.
The statistics suggest that Windows 7's adoption rate was twice as high as the one of Windows 8, and if true, it can only mean that manufacturers did not sell as many of the copies of Windows 8 they ordered from Microsoft than they did when Windows 7 was released.
One could say that Microsoft does not really have to care to whom they sell the licenses. But that is shortsighted as manufacturers who do not sell as many Windows 8 devices as hoped will certainly reduce future orders based on that. It all comes down to the end user adoption rate and all indicators suggest that it is lower than that of Windows 7.
It would be too easy to blame this solely on Windows 8 and the changes that Microsoft made to the operating system. While they most likely play a role, other factors do too. This includes the limited availability of Windows 8 tablet PCs as well as a declining PC market.
There could be another explanation for the difference in usage share between Windows 7 and Windows 8. In the past three years, more devices came to the market and overall use of computer systems has grown as well as a consequence. It is plausible that the same amount of devices would have been reflected in a larger usage share percentage in 2010 than today. It is however unlikely that all of the difference can be explained by that.
Another factor may play a role here: system downgrades count towards the number of licenses sold, even though Windows 8 is not used on downgraded systems at all.
It needs to be noted that only Microsoft could release 100% accurate figures, and that third party statistics do not necessarily reflect the real market situation.
The interview confirms that Windows Blue will be released in 2013, and that it is a codename for an update for Windows 8. It is interesting to note that Microsoft specifically mentions that Windows 8 gives the company the opportunity to respond to customer feedback. If that is a hint that requested features such as a start menu button or a skip start screen option will be integrated remains to be seen.
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