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Microsoft: Windows 8 outselling Windows 7

Windows 8

By Reuters

Posted on 28 Nov 2012 at 09:12

Microsoft says it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licences in the month since the launch, claiming it was setting a faster pace than Windows 7 three years ago.

The announcement contradicts earlier reports of slow sales for the latest Microsoft OS, but Microsoft remains bullish over the early uptake of an operating system seen as key to the company's future.

Tami Reller, finance and marketing head of the Windows business, did not give a precise comparison, but sales of 40 million licences for Windows 8, launched on October 26, appeared to be ahead of Windows 7, which sold just over 60 million units in the first 10 weeks on sale at the end of 2009.

"Windows 8 upgrade momentum is outpacing that of Windows 7," said Reller.

I think transitions are always somewhat of a challenge, but I think that timing-wise it is a reasonable time, and the team is busy

Upgrading to Windows 8 costs $40, compared to $70 for the full software package or hundreds of dollars for a new PC. Reller did not break down the Windows 8 licence sales between relatively cheap upgrades and purchases of new machines running the new software, but suggested much of the growth was coming from upgrades.

The latest figure does not mean that 40 million users have adopted Windows 8. Many of the sales are to PC manufacturers, who in turn sell a large number of machines to companies, very few of which are using Windows 8 yet.

According to tech research firm StatCounter, about 1% of the world's 1.5 billion or so personal computers - making a total of around 15 million - are actually running Windows 8. Windows 7 had posted more than 3% of market share after a month of sales.

Reller did not disclose sales of Microsoft's new Surface tablet, its first-ever own-brand PC, designed to challenge Apple's iPad head on.

Life after Sinofsky

The investor conference was the first public appearance for Reller since she was named as one of two executives to run the Windows unit after president Steven Sinofsky unexpectedly left two weeks ago. Julie Larson-Green heads the engineering side of Windows.

Reller said the Windows unit had survived Sinofsky's surprise departure.

"The team holistically is in great, great shape. And the product is in great shape," she said. "I think transitions are always somewhat of a challenge, but I think that timing-wise it is a reasonable time, and the team is busy."

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User comments

I like it!

I like Windows 8 so is there something wrong with me? Should I feel like this after most people have rubbished it? I've just upgraded my Thinkpad T410 with 4Gb extra memory and swapped the disk for a 256Gb SSD. This in combination with Windows 8 gives such rapid start-up and shutdown performance it's curbed my urge for a new pc.

I've also just got a Nokia Lumia 920 so I've fully subscribed to the Microsoft ecosystem. Working on OneNote and Office docs (via the 2013 preview) in either device has improved productivity.

By SparkyHD on 28 Nov 2012

As well as the OEM copies

How many of the 40 million 'sales' are corporate Volume License Subscription licenses that could still be running XP, Vista or 7?

By TBennett on 28 Nov 2012

I'm a Windows 8 convert

I like how fast Windows 8 is (even when Defender is running), and I've found its compatibility to be extremely good. I've warmed to the start screen, and it's so much better on a TV than Windows 7.

I do think that the experience on desktops needs looking at. New style apps on a monitor are such a waste of space, and the charms are totally useless. If I'm typing with both hands, I want to use a keyboard shortcut to search, not take one hand off the keyboard to move a mouse across the desk.

Otherwise, I think Windows 8 is good - better than I expected.

By John_Greythorne on 28 Nov 2012

I wouldn't go back

At first I wasn't sure about Windows 8, now that I've been using it for a while I wouldn't want to return to Windows 7. Windows 8 just feels much more responsive, more intuitive to use and is overall a much slicker, more enjoyable experience. Many people don't like change, but change doesn't have to be bad if you give it a chance.

By skarlock on 28 Nov 2012

Windows 8 is great, Metro is poop.

Don't let Metro put you off. Windows 8 is great - fast, stable, improved.
Just avoid Metro by using Start8, ClassicShell etc. and you'll be fine.

By cheysuli on 28 Nov 2012

Bought - Yes, Installed - No

Well I bought it to get the decent price and media pack upgrade, but I haven't installed it yet. A combination of still haven't worked out what improvements it would give me Vs family retraining required means its in the to do pile or maybe not. :)

By GhillieDhu on 28 Nov 2012

Missing the point re Metro

"Windows 8 is great, Metro is poop.

Don't let Metro put you off. Windows 8 is great - fast, stable, improved.
Just avoid Metro by using Start8, ClassicShell etc. and you'll be fine.

By cheysuli on 28 Nov 2012"

But I shouldn't need to 'risk' installing a third party shell to give me the desktop experience by default that I'm familiar with. What's more if I was company IT how much time and money do you think I want to spend training my staff (of all ages and all levels of computer competency) to use a completely new UI???

Hint: think of a £/$ number that's less than zero!

By fingerbob69 on 28 Nov 2012

Bought, installed, then uninstalled

Well I've installed it, then after decided I was always ignoring tiles and going straight to desktop.

Plus for whatever reason it wouldn't install updates. Must have been either Nitro PDF or Windows Home server causing issues.

Oh and the refresh windows option doesn't work for upgrades over Win 7.

Back to 7 for a while. May go back in the future. Just not yet.

By baripollard on 28 Nov 2012

8 outselling 7

Of course - I haven't bought 7 for some years but bought 8 to try out. Next purchase 7!

By watty on 29 Nov 2012

8 outselling 7

Of course - I haven't bought 7 for some years but bought 8 to try out. Next purchase 7!

By watty on 29 Nov 2012

8 outselling 7

Of course - I haven't bought 7 for some years but bought 8 to try out. Next purchase 7!

By watty on 29 Nov 2012

8 outselling 7

Of course - I haven't bought 7 for some years but bought 8 to try out. Next purchase 7!

By watty on 29 Nov 2012

You should re-evaluate what you said

"I like Windows 8 so is there something wrong with me? Should I feel like this after most people have rubbished it? I've just upgraded my Thinkpad T410 with 4Gb extra memory and swapped the disk for a 256Gb SSD. This in combination with Windows 8 gives such rapid start-up and shutdown performance it's curbed my urge for a new pc.

By SparkyHD on 28 Nov 2012"

You've just upgraded the bit that will make the biggest difference in start-up times. Spindle drive to SSD is a massive upgrade. Bigger than single core to multicore in a single hit. Granted multicore slowly, over time, made a massive difference in performance.

If you truly have only just upgraded and felt the benefit of an SSD you are in no position to talk about start up times. I'd implore you to try Windows 7 with an SSD also before you make any comment on Windows 8 performance wise. You are only in the position to judge aesthetics otherwise and other GUI features.

By law99 on 29 Nov 2012

The obvious

Win 8 on Touch Device - Great

Win 8 on Desktop - Not so great.

Win 8 on Desktop if they hadn't removed the start menu - Great

As for sales figures...of course people are going to consider snapping up an OS licence when the upgrade is priced at such a modest level.

The price of this upgrade demonstrates Microsoft's confidence, or lack thereof, in its likely success.

Surface is impressive too, until you consider that desktop applications don't work on it, which is a shame but is clearly part of the evolution to a lighter future, with sharper cleaner codebase.

Its a slow job shifting a paradigm, and this is just the beginning.

Or should I say this is just the "START"

By Gindylow on 29 Nov 2012

Windows 8 is great

@law99 Windows 8 starts WAY FASTER than Windows 7, full stop. Surely you have read that on more than one occasion.

@John_Greythorne There is no need to ever even see the charms if you prefer using the keyboard, as I do. Windows Key + Q = search programmes, Windows Key + W = search settings, Windows Key + F = search files. Windows key + I = PC settings. Windows Key + H = sharing. Windows Key + X = useful menu for Search, Run, control Panel and many others. Those are just a few of the many keyboard shortcuts. Even snapping Windows on the desktop to left or right = Windows Key + Left/Right arrow key, Windows Key + Up arrow to maximise.

I wouldn't want to go back now to Windows 7.

By cooloox on 29 Nov 2012

Windows 8 is great

@Gindylow I cannot agree with you regarding your opinions on Windows 8 Desktop with/without Start Button. What is the big deal about the Start Menu? Tell me what you cannot reach QUICKLY without the Start Menu? Have you ever pressed Windows Key + X or right-clicked the new Start Thumbnail that pops up in the lower left-hand corner of the screen?

One thing I love in the app version of IE10 is that if you right-click to bring up optional features - the address field is also your favourite bar Search. I have well hundreds of favourites and typing a few letters into the address line immediately finds whatever I'm wanting. It's way quicker than manually wading through my bookmarks.

By cooloox on 29 Nov 2012

Windows 8 is great

@Gindylow I cannot agree with you regarding your opinions on Windows 8 Desktop with/without Start Button. What is the big deal about the Start Menu? Tell me what you cannot reach QUICKLY without the Start Menu? Have you ever pressed Windows Key + X or right-clicked the new Start Thumbnail that pops up in the lower left-hand corner of the screen?

One thing I love in the app version of IE10 is that if you right-click to bring up optional features - the address field is also your favourite bar Search. I have well hundreds of favourites and typing a few letters into the address line immediately finds whatever I'm wanting. It's way quicker than manually wading through my bookmarks.

By cooloox on 29 Nov 2012

@John Greythorne

Hmm, I posted a long answer yesterday, but it seems to have disappeared.

Try Windows Key + C to bring up the charms menu.

CNet did a piece on 23 new shortcuts for Windows 8, which might be of interest to you.

I like Windows 8 and prefer it to WIndows 7, which I have on my work machine.

The Start Screen doesn't bother me much, I only see it once or twice a day, unless I am starting TIFKAM apps. Like Windows 7, I have all of my common apps pinned to the taskbar.

Whether I go into the start menu once a day or the start screen once a day, it doesn't make much difference.

By big_D on 29 Nov 2012

Windows 8 - Good and wouldn't go back

Overall I'm happy with Windows 8, I definitely wouldn't go back to Windows 7, I never got on with the annoying Start button, navigating through the All Programs that constantly became clogged with too many icons became a real pain. Metro's interface for launching pinned Start Menu icons is great allowing many more icons than could previously be pinned to the Start Menu. The All Programs which I very rarely need to use is however hopeless, just a massive list worse that Windows 7, they could at least have allowed folders.

Metro for everything else is pretty much rubbish on a 24" screen, I can't see the point, why call it Windows if you can't run applications in a window, seems stupid! Metro's app store is also diabolical, it's practically impossible to find anything, after the initial screen you're just provided a list of application names and their associated icons and star rating, until you click the icon there's absolutely no other detail to explain what the application is for so unless it's named very well it's almost impossible to find anything.

Windows 8 for windows desktop things is generally a nice improvement over Windows 7, primarily it feels snappier to use than 7 (like Vista on my high end PC - which indecently worked great contrary to most opinions, for me windows 7 never felt as snappy as Vista). Various other Win 8 improvements such as windows explorer and the file copy dialog's also work well. Most applications work fine for me, I've had a few compatibility issues but generally nothing major.

Lets hope Windows 9 resolves the Metro issues and at least allows the Metro windows in a window, rather than this stupid backwards step of full screen nonsense.

By Samo42 on 29 Nov 2012

No intention of installing Windows 8

Why would/should I waste days installing a new OS and all my programs, and then waste weeks / months gaining the proficiency I have now with Windows 7?

Answer: I wouldn't and I'm not going to;

a) I don't have a touchscreen and I'm not wasting even more money just to use a new OS, so I'd immediately be swiping the mouse around to try and find what I want.
b) The concept of having to swap between the Scottish Interface[1] and the UI I am more familiar with is utterly ridiculous and I am confident my PC would be through the window in minutes.
c) As previously mentioned I have neither the time nor inclination to waste learning new ways of performing tasks I am already proficient at with my current OS.

I predict the £45-£50 Windows 7 x64 sales on Ebay will go through the roof as people buy new PCs and upgrade them to Windows 7 (yes I did say upgrade :)).

[1] I'm calling it that since MS dropped the ball and can't call it Metro since the name is already in use by another company. Therefore the 'Interface we cannot name' much like the Scottish Play :)

By CeltiKaos on 29 Nov 2012

Retail v Business sales

Addendum to previous comments:

I'd like to know how many of those licences have been *activated*? Also how many have gone to businesses v home users.

By CeltiKaos on 29 Nov 2012

@cooloox

What is the big deal about the Start Menu?

Its a personal preference, my work role is multi-discipline and requires quite an array of programs, links and the like.

Pretty much since XP I've mastered a way of customising the default start menu, desktop, task bar and programs folders to create a layered system of programs tiered by frequency of use.

That functionality and layering has grown well from XP through vista and onto 7.

With 8, much like the Ribbon interface, the user hits a brick wall and has to spend time re-learning, searching and familiarising with the new layout.

I'm not averse to re-learning these things if there is genuine benefit, but so far I fail to see the benefit to me as a desktop user. (nothing to do with touch use on tablets etc.)

Having gone through the process of learning the "as shipped" layout you then have to learn how to hack it to suit the user, as I've never been happy with the Vanilla layout of any version of windows, Linux or mac.

So really it personal taste, and I think that the way many of us who like the start menu look at things is this:

Why remove the Start menu when it does no harm to leave it in place.

I wouldn't need it switched on by default if Redmond want us to check out the new furniture, sure, fine , no bother, but to NOT leave it there in the backend and let it be switched on with a tick box in the control panel and preferences seems to miss a trick.

There are other ways Win 8 misses the boat when it comes to using the concept of touch screens too, the biggest let down being the failure to create user definable touch "screen areas" and "touch modes" across the pixel space of multi-monitor setups.

Likely though these will arrive once Win 8 has been broken in to the world and users get over the simple novelty of pushing screens, and start moving towards deeper customisation of the experience. eg. Windows '10'/'X' after the departure of Mr Ballmer.

By Gindylow on 30 Nov 2012

@CeltiKaos

Hmm, install Windows 8 took around 40 minutes on my old Sony Vaio and, even with a clean install, I had every back to where I wanted it in a couple of hours.

Learning curve? None. Start Screen = Start Menu, other than that, it hasn't slowed me down at all, compared to Windows 7.

I don't like the IFKAM apps being full screen, but I guess it means I am being more productive, because the games, like Solitaire, which used to be windowed are full screen, so I don't play them as often, because I can't tuck them into a corner of the screen.

By big_D on 2 Dec 2012

Re: The "Scottish" Interface

Highlight for me was CeltiKaos' reference to the Scottish Interface. I thought it was because it looks like a tartan quilt :)

In all seriousness I like the new interface and I think Microsoft are going in a bold and innovative direction. Kudos to them for having the courage and drive to do it.

On the negative side I do think the decision to drop the start menu is a mistake which will keep lots of users away (me included) for the time being.

I can see why they want to drop it but surely they should have kept it for windows 8 and dropped it on 9 when the "Scottish" interface is honed a little more.

By johnortt on 4 Dec 2012

@johnnortt

Agreed on all points.

He threw me with the Scottish comment too, until further down the post, where I broke a leg on the metaphor... ;-)

Original comedy.

By Gindylow on 5 Dec 2012

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