Microsoft Corp has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the month since
the launch, according to one of the new co-heads of the Windows unit,
setting a faster pace than Windows 7 three years ago.
The sales number
represents a solid but unspectacular start for the touch-friendly
operating system designed to combat Apple Inc's and Google Inc's
domination of mobile computing, which has shunted aside PCs in favor of
iPads and smartphones.
Tami Reller, finance and marketing head of
the Windows business, did not give a precise comparison, but sales of 40
million licenses for Windows 8, launched on October 26, appear 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.
Reller did not break down the
Windows 8 license sales between relatively cheap upgrades and purchases
of new machines running the new software, but suggested much of the
growth was coming from upgrades.
"Windows 8 upgrade momentum is
outpacing that of Windows 7," said Reller, speaking at an investor
conference held by Credit Suisse. Upgrading to Windows 8 costs $40,
compared to $70 for the full software package or hundreds of dollars for
a new PC.
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 percent of the world's 1.5 billion or so personal
computers making a total of around 15 million are actually running
Reller did not disclose sales of Microsoft's new
Surface tablet, its first-ever own-brand PC, designed to challenge the
iPad head on.
The first Surface, based on a chip designed by ARM
Holdings Plc, does not run old versions of Microsoft programs. A
slightly bigger version based on an Intel Corp chip that will run the
full Windows 8 Pro operating system and be fully compatible with the
Office suite of applications will be available in January, Reller said.
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.
team holistically is in great, great shape. And the product is in great
shape," she said, responding to a question from a Credit Suisse
analyst. "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."
in the day, Microsoft said it had sold more than 750,000 Xbox game
consoles in the United States last week, including the day after
Thanksgiving, one of the country's biggest shopping days.
down from 960,000 sales in the same week a year ago, in line with
reduced computer game spending across the board this year, as gamers
hold off on purchases in the tight economy and move toward free online
© Thomson Reuters 2012