Microsoft: Windows 8 outselling Windows 7
40 million copies of Windows 8 sold to date, according to Microsoft
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."