40 million Windows 8 licenses sold

From the Windows Blog a few minutes ago:

As we pass the one month anniversary of the general availability of Windows 8, we are pleased to announce that to-date Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses. Tami Reller shared this news with industry and financial analysts, investors and media today at the Credit Suisse 2012 Annual Technology Conference.

According to Microsoft, “Windows 8 is outpacing Windows 7 in terms of upgrades.”

A few more thoughts:

  • Microsoft sold 60 million licenses in the first two months that Windows 7 was on sale. So this is probably slightly ahead of that pace.
  • Windows Vista sold 20 million licenses in its first month.
  • The $15 free upgrade for anyone who purchased a PC with Windows 7 after June 1 probably helped a lot.
  • The $40 upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for any Windows PC probably helped even more.

Putting that figure into perspective: That one month of sales is equal to more than half of the entire installed base of Macs. It is probably the largest number of Windows licenses ever sold in a single month. And this is happening in a weak economy, with PC sales down year over year.

9 thoughts on “40 million Windows 8 licenses sold

  1. Does “licenses sold” include licenses that haven’t been activated?

    (e.g. new-unsold Windows 8 computers sitting in a store or warehouse.)

  2. Yes.Yes. Microsoft operates on GAAP accounting. Revenue is recorded the moment that a sale is made, and no later. Once the OEM buys the license, they can burn the COA for all that Microsoft cares. The money has been made.

    Do note, however, that most Windows OEMs operate on a just-in-time basis. This includes not just the build-to-order outfits like Dell, but even those that primarily build off-the-shelf systems. The off-the-shelf builders simply have a longer pipeline, but they still carefully match their throughput to orders. This wasn’t the case ten years ago, but today, everyone is basically some variation on Dell.

    The Windows OEM business is a very cutthroat business, in which basis points matter. Windows OEMs have historically been very quick to ramp down production if they see any signs of flagging demand, e.g., late 2008 / early 2009.

  3. @Paul

    I’m no troll. You’re paranoid.

    Since the olden days of DOS, I have only used Microsoft operating systems, so I hardly qualify as being anti-Microsoft.

  4. In regards to the terrible news that Windows 8 might actually be succeeding:
    Most negative comments I’ve read on this and other sites say one of two things.
    1. Microsoft lies
    2. The licenses are not being used (ie. the numbers are gerrymandered)
    Its amazing how much vitriol there is towards a company and a product. Regardless, the company was using the same matrix for comparing win7 and win8 and legitimately show that win 8 is outpacing win 7. That’s a remarkable accomplishment considering all the negative press. Bottom line, in my opinion the message is that while tech geeks, bloggers, and media have a big problem with the new operating system, regular folks like, or at least are using and maybe even using the new features. Another interesting note was she points out that almost all users can “find the desktop”, and many are using it the majority of the time which she said always was an intended option. People are not as stupid as the press and bloggers think, and may not always take an extremely critical eye to change. Some surveys have shown even the most long term windows users are about 50% likely to prefer Windows 8 to previous versions.

  5. “And this is happening in a weak economy, with PC sales down year over year.” Do you have a source for that? I’m not entirely sure but I don’t think shipments are down, we’re just seeing a slowdown in growth. They are certainly not down from 2009 when Windows 7 launched.

    Also, Windows 8 will be sold with tablets too, although at this point I’m sure that’s not adding a lot to the total of licenses sold.

  6. Microsoft is not reporting anything any different than any other company reports it’s sales. Basically, their metric is dead on with the industry. So whether the licenses are used or not really has no value statistically. It’s a moot point.

  7. Yeah you’re right, that’s quite a drop in Q3. Not sure what the total for the whole year will be, it might still be higher than 2009 when Windows 7 launched, but the trend is clear. Thanks for the reply.

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