Microsoft sells over 200 Million licenses for Windows 8 – 'looking forward to the future'

At times, the success of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8, can seem questionable. While Microsoft was able to sell over 240 million Windows 7 licenses a year after the software’s launch, Windows 8 is just beginning to see any figures close to that number. It has been fifteen months and Microsoft has just now acknowledged that they have sold over 200 million licenses.

During today’s Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Marketing Tami Reller, made the comment that the personal computing operating system has just surpassed the 200 million licenses number in terms of sales.

It is important to note what “licenses sold” actually means. The number is a combination of licenses sold to OEMs (Dell, Lenovo, Sony, etc.) and licenses picked up by users for upgrading their existing PC. The number does not include the number of Windows 8 licenses that were sold to enterprise users via volume licensing.

For those unfamiliar with volume licensing – businesses, governments, and educational institutions are usually given a single volume license key that allows multiple copies of the software to be installed across various machines (you can think of it as the master license key).

Microsoft later reached out to the media and confirmed the statement made by its Executive Vice President of Marketing Tami Reller:

“Windows 8 has surpassed 200 million licenses sold, and we continue to see momentum. This number includes Windows licenses that ship on a new tablet or PC, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. The figure does not include volume license sales to enterprise. Windows is a central part of life for more than 1.5 billion people around the world, and we are looking forward to the future.”

As always, despite the slightly low sales numbers, Microsoft is keeping their chin held high and walking forward into the future with confidence. It is hoped that the company can fix and/or correct many of the issues consumers saw with Windows 8 in their upcoming update, Windows 8.1 Update 1.

Are you on Windows 8 or are you still holding out?

Source: ZDNet

Michael Archambault
  • @thurrott will have a field day with that number, it's always 200million
  • According to the verge "There have been over 170 million iPads sold since its release in 2010 (as of October 2013)" And they call windows 8 a flop?
  • He wasn't overly critical.  Just basically said it is not as good as Windows 7, obviously.
  • What I wish Thurrott would understand is, the clement when Win7 was released was very different from when Win8 was released. E.g. A lot of people didn't go to Vista, and the ones that did were looking to get out fast. Answer Windows 7. When Win7 was released (with all the good reviews) a lot of people jumped on it. But with a lot of people using Win7, and all the bad press around Win8 (before launch) few people had a reason to get on board with Win8. When you look at it that way, Win8 did quite a bit better that most people would have guessed. So, I for one think 200m, 15 months in is damn good for MS. Also, now that a lot of the bad reviews are turning around and saying Win8 is actually pretty good, no one is listening anymore. They were turned off by the initial bad press, and instead of looking into it again, they just keep repeating what they read before Windows 8 was released.
  • Word! Just like the wp7 fiasco just before the great wp8.
  • Exactly what I was going to say. Windows 7 was sorely needed considering what people were upgrading from (tired XP or at-the-time-slow Vista). Whereas Windows 7 is enough for most people to not *need* 8, so the fact that they are not far behind 7 (whose sales were boosted by rats from a sinking ship, so to speak) is pretty damn impressive.
  • Not to mention the difference in the economy then, and the fact that PC's were in need of replacement more often because they weren't all "good enough" as they tend to be now. The fact that they've hit close to Windows 7 despite the inherent reduction in PC sales the last 3-4 years, says Windows 8 isn't the flop everyone keeps claiming it is.  
  • You guys have all hit the nail on the head lol Considering PC's since 2011 all came standard with 4 gigs of ram and most Core i3s, i5, i7 from that generation are future proof to any standard normal user, less and less people have reason to upgrade their systems now and then. So yeah I think Windows 8 is doing a lot better than I myself expected and im sure many bloggers are thinking "wtf" It brings me to another point... The windows app store... COME ON DEVS... you have 200 million users hungry ;)
  • Also take into consideration that W7 was more efficient than XP and W8 is more efficient than W7 and hardware life continues to be extended. As an example, I am running W8.1 on a 6 year old quad core duo that isn't materially slower than the i7 laptop I bought my parents. At work, we just moved off XP to W7 and my 5+ year old desktop with just 3.5GB of RAM and a hamster for a processor runs far better than it did on XP. So, it's no wonder PC sales have slowed. Just one factor, obviously.
  • Absolutely right. Also, not everyone updates the OS as soon as it comes out. At leats in Portugal the vast majority of people waits until they buy a new pc/laptop to update, after all, windows 8 still costs over 100€, in a country where the minimun wage is less than 500€ (roughly 600$), plus the cost of having it installed. Most people don`t know how to install an OS, they`re afraid they might not be able to run the same programs they already had, etc. I´m also still running W7 and will continue to do so until i buy a new laptop.
  • MS is still getting bad press for things they did 15 years ago. Which is stupid as far as a tech company goes.
  • I have two of these, three if RT counts.  What is the total Windows 7 licenses sold to date?  It has to be 600-750m+, if it is 50% of Windows users.  I have one of those too.  One of my machines duals boots with Windows 7 and 8.1.  Haven't gotten around to re-installing my old desktop applications on to 8.1.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be using Windows 7 any longer.
  • There are 4 in my home, Dell venue 8 pro, Acer laptop, Surface 2 and my main rig.
  • There's 2 windows 8 in my family(my laptop and desktop) and 4 windows 7
  • Two windows 8 machines and an RT here
  • Two Surface RT machines, Surface Pro, Windows 8 laptop, Windows 8 Pro desktop.
  • 2 x Desktop Windows 8 1 x Surface RT 1 x Windows Phone All good in the 8 hood for me! (My hand is up, I am expecting high fives my from bros - gimme skin WP Central homies)  
  • Consider yourself fived. :-)
  • Consider yourself high-fived [2] and hugged if it's allowed.
  • High five brother!
    2x Windows 8.1 Desktops
    1x Windows 8.1 Laptop
    1x Surface RT
    2x Nokia Lumia WP8
    I would replace my Pella windows with Microsoft Windows if I could.
  • W8.1 desktop and Ultrabook, Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and two Surface 2s. All great machines running 8.1. Oh, and a Lumia 928 and 520 and HTC 8X.
  • Hmm they should add windows phone rt and even xbow cause it has windows 8 to that number lol
  • I think sales will pick up once people try Win8 instead of complaining about pictures of it.
  • I completely agree.
  • Agree! And I'm seeing this happen in the past few months.
  • I feel the same way about Kate Beckinsale
  • KB is the best babe out there hands down! How could one not like that she kicked ass, had a no-nonsense attitude while looking sexy in that leather outfit the whole time in Underworld?
  • I tried it and couldn't even find Windows Update. I don't need the frustration. I will get into when I have more free time, but for now I don't see the point in moving away from a perfectly good Win7.
  • You must not have tried very hard.  It's in the Control Panel like it's always been.  Or you could just ... Start button >> type "Upda" >> and select Windows Update.
  • Hahaha! What fucking Start button bro?
  • That one on your keyboard.... you know... lower left side, generally second key in. However, since you seem somewhat challenged with technology here's a video and picture of the process on Microsoft's site.
  • Right. Thanks for the video tutorial on how to do something that I had been doing for fucking 10 years prior to the POS that is Win8. Like I said, I will learn it when I have time. The point is that MS has alienated a whole shitload of people with this release. These are the people that see their computers as tools to get work done. If you need to spend time relearning how to use a familiar tool then it is only natural that adoption will be slow. By the way, when pushing the windows key it toggled between the metro UI and the desktop. There was no start button, no search box, and no control panel. There was a crappy HP java-type fake start menu that didn't help worth a shit.
  • I am stunned and impressed by the cognizant reply.  You must be a joy to your peers in the calm, rational approach you have towards communicating with people worldwide.  I am glad that you found the video tutorial helpful.  There are many how to articles on that link that will help you in your approach to learning and expanding your skills.  Best of luck in your personal growth.
  • It takes all of 5 minutes to learn everything you need to know in W8.x to navigate your entire machine.
  • Lippidp, Clueless?
  • owned
  • I have first Gen Surface and a W7 laptop. Sadly my work(a school district) is still on XP. Maybe when support finally ends on XP in April we might move up to Vista....chuckle chuckle ;-)
  • And the next update will help bolster sales. There's a lot of good stuff that people wanted, and now they get. Now the problem for Ms is proving to people that Win8 isn't as bad as it's been made out to be, and that it works as well as Win7(and that you don't have to re-learn a new OS).
  • 8.1 tablet and lumia 1020 here. Excellent combo.
  • GO Microsoft!!!!
  • Thats an old news
  • Windows can do it I believe In them.
  • and as usual the haters will find some reason to question the validity of this number
  • Yea. Like how many of those millions are actually owned by customers vs how many are sitting in random stores waiting to be sold...
  • or like... how many computers are shipped with windows 8 and how you cant find many win7 pcs anymore
    like if it didnt happen with windows 7, 5 years ago when it was released. in fact, it happens with windows in every version, because new computers will ship with the newest Microsoft OS. but of course people will say you are forced to buy windows 8 and these numbers are a lie blabla but of course some people will say Win8 is a fail and these numbers are not real...
  • Imagine if Apple forced OS and hardware obsolescence...oh, wait...
  • That's impressive!! Windows 7 had only XP to compete. Windows 8 has XP and 7 to compete! Both are well successful systems. Wait till XP support dies in April and this number will accelerate as people skip 7 and get on Windows 8.1 update 1.
  • Windows 8 has android, ios to compete with
  • No it doesn't.
  • against iOS and Android, really? This is not WP8
  • You are absolutely right. A lot of pc/laptop users don`t really need a pc. Take my 75 years old father for example; he has a laptop (windows7) pretty much just for youtube, emails, facebook, looking up stuff on the internet and home-banking. Problem is, he doesn`t know much about computers, so every now and then he either installs some crap, or a toolbar, or cliks on a popup ad and ends up making a big mess. He bought an ipad 2 years ago and since then the laptop was never used again. For that type of user an android tablet or an ipad is perfect. Does anybody thinks he will ever drop the ipad for a windows8 tablet or pc, even if W8 is superior? Fat chance.
  • One W8.1 desktop, one RT8.1 tablet, one W8 laptop (non-upgradable license).
  • All Windows 8 for me... 2 laptops and two desktops. Love it!
  • I stole mine. Lmao. Well, I activated through there UK telephone system which is more of a loophole I suppose. W.e
  • I asked for a key too. The Swedish robot lady was very nice and helped me activate my OS. :)
  • Isn't it silly. Couldn't believe it
  • One machine with Windows 8.1, looking forward to buy a RT version. ;)
  • 1 Windows 8.1 PC 1 Windows 8.1 Tablet 1 Windows Phone 8 (but really sad, because is a L822 and will not update to Black Lumia )
  • Are you sure?
  • 3 win 8.1 pcs, 1 win 8.1 tablet and 2 WP smartphones. Quite happy with win 8
  • I own a Surface Pro 2 with Windows 8.1 Pro! :D
  • One pc 8.1- surface 2, 8.1
  • One Win RT
    2 WP8
    Pending one Win 8 (ThinkPad8)
  • Oh and lumia 920....with black =)
  • upgraded old laptop from xp to 8.1, surface rt, and dell venue 8 week, adding 2 nokia lumia icons....i went all in.
  • How do you like the dell venue 8 pro. I'm considering buying one. I want a surface 2 pro but its kinda to expensive for me right now
  • People are trying to buy a Surface. Where are they? Fill up those stores ......lazy Americans ;-)
  • I have to say I completely love Windows 8 and 8.1, not to mention Windows Phone. I think Microsoft is leading the way in terms of functional (both business and gaming) devices. I currently own both a Surface Pro 2 as well as a Dell Venue Pro... and a Nokia 625 (which I'm going to upgrade with new hardware as soon I hope). Windows 8.1 update 1 just needs to nudge the OS a little more forward.
  • The first time I used windows 8 on a 1200 screen with no snap function I hated it to the point of being disappointed. Now I own a Surface Pro 2, Surface RT, a PC and a 920 and am enjoying it quite well. As a sells person it stinks when people that want to buy a PC without windows 8 before trying it. Long story short, after showing them around they love it. But I understand where they are coming from.
  • 4x Windows 8, 1x Windows RT, 2x Windows Phone 
  • Three win 8.1 , One Nokia 2520RT. Not looking back at Win 7 no matter how good it is. The closest I will get it it is desktop mode in 8.1 & waiting for the day when that goes away and Midori rules. Win 8-8.1 is the ground work to wean people off of the desktop especially after Microsoft launches office for touch. People crying for the traditional start button and floating metro apps in desktop mode are holding us captive to the desktop along with software companies who won't update the software for html5.
  • Surface 2 and HTC 8X. Love It, every day again.
  • 2 Windows 8.1 Machines and 1 RT
  • All Windows 8.1 here. Non-touch laptop, Acer Iconia tablet and original Surface RT, 64Gb. Also Lumia 920. Let's all get behind the 8.1 refresh in just a month, and I am super excited about Windows Phone 8.1 soon. I am on XP in my office, but we will upgrade to win7 next month. I am sure that will be spun as fail, too, though it is not unexpected. Do expect to see Win7 numbers climb with the decline of XP, with Win 8.x doubling as well.
  • 3 times Win8, two desktops and a Surface Pro 2. And 2 wp8 phones.
  • I wonder if HP is rethinking it's shiaty ways after this news and this news
  • No one VL windows 8 anyway, not need too footnote that
  • We have a Volume License for Windows 8.1 in our government network. Staff love it on their all-in-one touch screen desktop computers and managers love their Surface Pros.
  • I'm gonna skip 8. Not that I don't like, I really do love it. But I'll have to replace my laptop next year or 2016. I always use to skip one generation. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying WP8 on my Lumia 925
  • Wp8, Surface, Win8 PC, Win8 latop!!! I pwned 8!
  • I was never a massive fan of the start button. I was so made up when the tile home screen was announced. Mainly because I thought Windows phone 7.5 was so nice. Ended up getting some of the Ativ range, Ativ s phone, the Ativ tab rt and updated a Samsung rf710 to 8.1. Samsung fan but not an android one. Basically my life is complete now. Well if the default movie player on rt had a screen lock, mkv support, subtitle support and aspect ratio or a 3rd party app that's not totally buggy would be a start! In my opinion anything with Windows and an 8 after it is the best product Microsoft have ever made by far.
    Apart from Halo. Oh and that rf710 laptop is a non touch screen and it doesn't make any difference using a mouse and keyboard. Yeah the touch gestures are great but still works as well. Not sure what is wrong with people. Even for an I.T admin in an office it isn't a problem with productivity. Has increase mine alot and I'm using multiple graphics, 3D CAD software and 3 monitors and it is much better than win7
  • You know what's funny? Windows 8.x in touch screen is not as fast and nice to use, than using mouse and keyboard.
    thats the funny thing about people complaining how it is a "touch interface". even in my design software, Lightwave, 3dsmax, photoshop illustrator... Im not really a keyboard person, so for someone who uses most of the time mouse, Windows 8 is really amazing. I dont expect everyone to like Windows 8, but some people are over dramatic about it, and they think "oh its not productive" like if going fullscreen to lunch apps was like a time lose or it was pressing "undo" and ruining their work. so touch vs mouse and keyboard, I always would think mouse and keyboard works faster and better, from switching apps, to go to control panel, computer management and all that. hmm I dont think the default player would ever play MKV, dont know why, but it seems not to get attention by anyone, since I have sent mkv videos and they are like "it doesnt work" they apparently dont even have computer to open the files or dont want to download a player for that.
    but have you ever tested.
    it would be nice if moliplayer was on Win8, but have you used mobile.HD Media Player or Yxplayer? I found them to be not so bad. most of my movies tend to be MKV... but they have Trial if you want to test them o.o
  • I'm with you on the mouse! I haven't used 8.1 on touch only 8.1 rt so I can't really compare the speed as such but would say the 8.1 with mouse is far quicker than prodding my 8.1 rt screen. Mkv is a problem that most people, companies never acknowledge. I've tried the HD media player and it does do the job and has a screen lock but unfortunately doesn't have subtitle support so most my mkv files are useless. It is a good app for the money though and would recommend also. I did buy it after the trail. Thanks Emi
  • 3x Win8 (desktop, laptop, Surface RT) in house plus 3 WP8s (920, 820, 520)
  • I'm on Windows 8.1 and I'm a very happy and satisfied user!!
  • I updated my Windows 7 PC to Windows 8 on the first months after launch and updated to 8.1 the day it came out. I have no doubt that this is the best OS so far, and I am looking forward to Update 1. Also, any single OS that has a bigger marketshare than all (Mac) OSX version can't have such low sales or be considered a failure.
  • I have never been so productive since I started using Windows 8.1. Adding mobile to Windows is genius. I think @thurrott spends most of his working time at a desk recently. I agree to remove task bar from metro apps, but other than that update 1 looks like a good build. So there are already more Win8 machines out there than ipads. Surely rich pickings to be had for app developers...
  • Start8
  • 7 4eveer
  • A Windows watch with 4 tiles would be the final puzzle piece for me. The end of my sex life too though I suspect. Not a kin watch mind u. Ha.
  • Been there from the very beginning. Best OS ever devised...BAR NONE!
  • one laptop 8.1 Surface Rt Surface 2 L920 L521 love them all even if mi wife hates them all, even her RT because her friend tell her to
  • My wife loves Windows 8 because I told her to.
  • 6 windows 8 computers here ranging from tablets to desktops including 3 windows phones
  • I find that WIN 8 is clearly the best OS Microsoft has done to date.Even on my Win 8 RT. Much of the hate talk is because people just do not like change, even if that overall change,reflects in a much better product.
  • And some people say that W8 is failing... Hah
  • One Windows 8 update license here. Looking for a full Windows 8.1 license because it sucks having to go through the 7-8-8.1-8.11 path whenever I want to do a clean install.
  • W8.1 Desktop x1
    W8.1 Laptop x1
    WP 8 GDR3 Lumia 620 x1
  • Great OS!
  • The Best OS! Lenovo Yoga 13" Orange Win8.1 x64 HP TC 4400 Win8.1 x64 PRO Nokia Lumia 920 WinPhone 8 Developer Preview and roommate's notebook Acer S3 Win8.1 x64
  • Updated my HP home PC and HP laptop from Windows 7 to 8 the first month when it was a 30$ fee :) Its amazing what Windows 8 did to my home PC and laptop. They both have 4 gigs of ram and a Core i3... I BOOT UP ON BOTH IN UNDER 15 seconds from cold and I love the automated maintenance that windows 8 has built in. Seriously all the garbage talk on the web couldn't make me go back to windows 7 lol plus im an IT guy and its called ADAPTING. You move on fellas, which is exactly what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 going forward. If you don't adapt (to touch and mobile in this case) you die and become extinct. period.
  • IMO, it isn't really a fair comparison to compare Windows 7 and Windows 8 sales. It's not a one to one comparison:  Windows 7 was introduced when the consumer PC market was at a different place, and prior to the explosion of the availability of mobile devices. The PC isn't dead, but iOS and Android, on phones and tablets, eliminated the need for multiple PCs in the home, if you only wanted to browse the web and read email, thus the lower sales of Windows 8 licenses. (That aside, I actually had to buy a second computer.....running OSX Mavericks.  Unfortunately, as a budding novelist/screenwriter, there are a couple of great applications for Mac that are either not feature comparable on Windows or not availale, like Storyist or Scrivener.   Besides, everybody knows that most Hollywood writers use Macs ;-) )
  • Most of the criticism made to Windows 8 was and remain pointless. All the blathering about desktop or start menu never made much sense: the desktop was just one click away from the modern home, and the stupid start menu..oh doesn't even exist on osx and hardly you can criticize macs about usability. People is just dumb, they hate changes at any degree, they like thing to always stay the same so they can see themselves smart and skillfull..of course they aren't at all.. :) since as soon as they need to learn something new they rejected as a whole. Never change anything. Let me master what I know. Evolution is bad.
    And beside that Win7 having a faster adoption rate, is still pretty didn't changed in the UI and UX and more important it followed a disastrous product like Vista. That's pretty clear people was eager to jump on that train asap!
  • Agree with many of the posts on here! Windows 8 arrived in a completely different climate - and lower sales of PCs in general would account for lower win8 sales lol. People are realising they don't even need a laptop anymore. Windows 8 is not bad, in and of itself; but the system faced the challenge of being relevant. 200 million tests later and i think it has passed. In all honesty, yes it is a jump and dies look different but essentially it just requires you to press the windows button on the keyboard lol. That said, some drivers have not been updated yet - though nvidea seem to be churning drivers out loads... Either way, congratulations on not being the flop everyone thinks you are, windows 8.1!!!
  • I am already on Windows 8.1  
  • Only backward people can not accept change. Unfortunately, there are millions of them. One example are those crying out for a START button!
  • W7, W8, W8.1 are all great, 8.1 coming update will probably address most users issues. Despite numerous reports about falling sales of PCs, the competition from iPads and androids dominant market share, Microsoft continues to battle on and give us better products and services. Thanks to microsoft, PC's are cheap... poor institutions, schools, homes, people living in poor countries can afford a PC. Thanks to Microsoft and its partners, they brought personal computing to many homes at an affordable price which is why technology is where it is today! I don't understand how an android tablet can be more expensive than a more productive PC or Windows tablet!????? Anyway Microsoft has done a lot more for mankind than Apple, Google, Samsung and anyone else who wants to publish anything negative about Microsoft. So when companies like Google try to battle with Microsoft, i think we should put them in their place. The moral of the story is... I rather support Microsoft than other tech powerhouse. Long live Microsoft, long live Bing, long live windows phone, long live windows PCs, like long live Nokia, long live Microsoft's Partners.
  • Just realised after reading every bodies count of win8 devices that i actually gave away 2 surface RT's 32 & 64gb...Now the people are converts. Microsoft you owe me 20quid for!
  • I've converted quite a few myself. They have all thanked me for the recommendation. All of them non-techies. And I must add they were all dead set on iPads and such...and then they used a Pro or RT. Now they'd never think of owning an iPad. Pretty cool.
  • All we go by is how our clients react. We have a deal with them; We deploy Windows 8, train you onsite for Windows 8, give links to decent training videos answering the "why" question, then promise that if they will try it for a week, we'll downgrade them to Windows 7 if they wish-- for free. No one has taken us up on it, support tickets down 23% over Windows 7 PC's and down 52% over Windows XP. Everyone loves the speed. Not a single "slow PC" ticket on a Windows 8 box yet... 6 months into the first client deployment. We upgraded to 8.1 immediately and re-trained. They love it even more now. Also, most hardware (printers, scanners, etc) works right out of the box with native Win 8.1 drivers. That means less "install" and "install onsite" tickets, or at least makes installs with manufacturer drivers more easy to schedule as the user is functional upon unboxing the equipment. That's gold for proactive MSP's with SLA's like us. That used to be the ONLY thing we liked about Mac's in a business environment- that they could detect simple equipment and work in at least a limited capacity until we could schedule an install of the manufacturer's driver.. Of course, most of those run Parallels in order to run Windows 7 and that means TWO driver installs (now THAT's klunky, something some have said of Windows 8). Funny fun fact: Many Mac users, tired of banging their head against the wall with their dual-personality Mac's in a business environment, look at Windows 8 and it looks awfully familiar, yet more beautiful and functional.