back to article Microsoft claims 90m sales of Windows 7

Microsoft claimed yesterday that it had sold 90 million copies of Windows 7 since it hit manufacturers in July 2009. Speaking at a Morgan Stanley-sponsored tech, media and telecoms conference on Tuesday, Microsoft's CFO Peter Klein said the vendor had seen bumper sales of its current operating system to date. Windows 7 …


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  1. Klaus
    Thumb Down

    I call BS

    They say this for every version they ship (I think they even tried it for Vista for a little bit until they had to admit it was a complete flop). I don't believe this for a minute though as I only know a couple of people who actually have 7, the rest are still plugging away with XP.....

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Could be true

      Vista the flop will have created pent-up demand, and the international discounts for early ordering, the bumper European discounts* and it being the first major launch since Macs started running Windows too (actually, probably not so relevant, but the reason why I personally purchased a copy) will have helped.

      Not relevant, but I like it a lot more than XP but still less than OS X. Though I'm possibly just being conservative and preferring what I already know.

      * ie, it was originally announced that the full Internet Explorer-less version would be shipped for the price normally reserved for upgrade copies; when the non-IE idea fell by the wayside everyone who had ordered non-upgrade E copies at upgrade prices was bumped to full copies at the upgrade price.

  2. Kevin Thomas


    "We're humbled and excited that people are responding so positively to Windows 7 - our customers have made it the fastest selling operating system in history," it claimed."

    It may be the fastest selling OS, but I can't agree ont he "responding positively" part. Well, not completely.

    I have a couple of colleagues here have installed Win7 and have found, for the most part that it works a charm. However, when trying to run XP virtually on a Dell Laptop, there have been errors generated claiming that the hardware does not support virtuallisation, unlike XP/Vista which just worked.

    I think it's a little early to be claiming a major victory.

    1. PsychicMonkey

      Doesn't support virtualisation

      This is probably because the CPU doesn't have the virtualisation technology, XP mode requires this, although I'm not sure why, Virtual PC didn't....

      1. Piro

        A barrier to entry to ensure decent performance

        Is the most likely answer.

      2. Al Jones

        You can still run Virtual PC 2007

        Even if XP Mode doesn't work.

  3. Lionel Baden

    mainly oems isnt it

    Just buying bulk half price upgrade options etc etc ???

    or ....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How many have been activated?

    Well, how many have been activated then? I was forced to buy a copy when I needed a cheap laptop. Didn't even boot into it, I just installed Fedora instead. Microsoft owe me £50 - or HP, I don't care which. I have just been ripped off that is all!

    Before purchasing I tried emailing all laptop manufacturers but none of the corrupt bastards bothered replying. I could have gone for a specialist Linux one but they were too expensive for my needs, as I only needed a cheap one for what I am doing.

    Where is the EC/EU investigation into the illegal Windows install monopoly on OEM laptops?

    1. Bassey

      Re: How many have been activated

      > Where is the EC/EU investigation into the illegal Windows install monopoly

      It was quite a few years ago. For many years you have been able to return an inactivated Windows license to MS for a full refund.

      1. The BigYin

        To MS?

        I thought it had to be returned to the OEM? Who will probably want the kit back to verify that the license is not being used.

        I'm interested in this as I am planning to by a netbook (or small laptop) and I do not want to run Windows, therefore I do not want to may the MS Tax.

      2. Jim in Hayward
        Thumb Down

        Yeah, right.

        Funny how there is no info on how to do so available to the purchaser at the time of purchase!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shhh... or else I'll owe MS

      I bought an NB200 from Toshiba ... they wouldn't sell it without Windows becauase Microsoft had subsidised the whole damn range. (that was what their own people told me on the phone)

      Like you, Windows went bye-bye without mercy ... but if MS found out, they'll be coming to me for the fifty quid ... to pay you!

      Can't I just buy you a pint and we forget the whole thing?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Try this

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Seems reasonable

    probably inflated figures BUT there's millions of Windows users out there on XP that want to update their OS if you want to stay with Windows for whatever reason, familiarity, Windows only apps, you don't know of alternatives, whatever they're going to go to Windows 7 (everyone knows Vista was a flop ;)

  6. DanX

    Buy 7, install XP.

    Certainly I've been buying 7 pro with machines, and runing XP on the hardware.

    1) It has less demands of the hardware.

    2) Its fully compatible with existing software installed.

    3) The user expereince is known and tested.

    I wonder if Office 2010 will be compatibale with windows XP?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free has no cost...

    How about Microsoft reveal the Linux take up since Windows 7 went on sale?

    I would love to see that the take up of Ubuntu or Debian against Windows 7 - personally I think this is rubbish; it's done to try and convert/silence the naysayers.

  8. LuMan

    Hmm 90 million..

    If the calculations were done by the same bloke who wrote the code for the PS3 leap year clock, then 90 million is quite a believable number..!

    1. Chris Miller

      Office 2010 is compatible with XP/SP3

    2. James Whale


      Suggesting the Win7 user experience isn't tested is bonkers - it was the most user-tested OS ever under beta and even now, nearly 6 months after launch with all the positive reviews, you still don't trust it?

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Yeah, those "positive" reviews

        "nearly 6 months after launch with all the positive reviews, you still don't trust it?"

        This may have something to do with the fact that those same reviewers were wildly enthusiastic about Windows Vista as well, which gave the game away.

        Vista was IMHO the best ad *ever* for seeking Windows alternatives, I imagine Jobs must have thanked Gates on his knees every day even before he put his turtle neck on, and it exposed a lot of "reviewers" for the untrustworthy lot they were. This is also why I put no store whatsoever by reported sales figures. Such facts are so open to manipulation they're meaningless.

      2. J 3


        "nearly 6 months after launch with all the positive reviews, you still don't trust it?"

        I still don't trust Windows XP, mind you.

    3. Al Jones

      Are you serious?

      Personally, I know dozens of ordinary people who have either bought new computers win Windows 7 in the last year, or upgraded their Windows Vista machines to Windows 7.

      I know one person who got a Mac from their work - they now use it along side their old Windows Vista laptop. (Because iChat is all very pretty, but none of their friends have macs, so it's pretty useless, and they use Windows Live Messenger to chat with their family).

      I can safely say that I don't know a single person who has migrated to Linux for their own personal machines. Two people that I work with tried Ubuntu NBR on their netbooks, but went back to XP.

      I'm taking about ordinary people here, not techies who define themselves by the type of OS they use. And these ordinary people vastly outnumber the technical types.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Are you serious?

        YES. I know lots of people who run Ubuntu and it's also the most popular Linux distro..

        We buy Windows Vista PCs at work yet none of them actually run Windows 7 (they all run Windows XP). So yes I'm serious, if Microsoft were so convinced that everyone was running Windows 7 why don't they reveal the true number of people whom have activated Windows 7 against say Windows Vista and Windows XP and Linux distributions.

        The reason they don't is that it would be advertising the take up of Windows 7 - Yes, they are selling licenses but no business are using it in numbers (look at the Intel article).

        Ubuntu might not be used in big business but it is used by home users.

      2. Big-nosed Pengie


        I've been flooded with requests from friends to replace their Windwoes systems with Linux. It started with Fista and continues unabated.

        The most common comment is "This is great! Why didn't I do this years ago?"

  9. Psymon

    It's not going to take too long

    XP is a bloody good OS these days, but that's only because it's been hammered into shape over the last eight years.

    But this is also its downfall. in terms of the underlying tech, certainly the graphics and audio architecture, it really is getting a bit long in the tooth.

    One thing that I can say is a massive step forward, is DirectX 11. It's a huge rewrite, with some pretty brutal slashing of nasty legacy rubbish. The most important addition though, is the GP-GPU functionality, which should be a shot in the arm for the PC games industry.

    The entire industry has been pirched on the fence when it comes to incorporating realtime physics and other highly advanced features, because if you make it part of the gameplay, you essentially break the game for those who don't have a fancy PhysX card.

    Of course, Nvidia and ATI had already developed their own implementations, but they were mutually incompatible, doubling the work for any coder.

    This should level the playing fields and bring the PC back into play against the next-gen consoles.

  10. danny_0x98

    Missing the Point

    90 million licenses, even discounted, even if paid for and not used, still mean a whole lot of green.

    But, Windows, by virtue of its ubiquity on new computers, always moves a lot of licenses and generates a lot of cash.

    Windows 7's mission was to get people to buy another Windows OS (and, implicitly, to stop using XP.) Ninety million in four months (noting that some licenses were sold during the RC period and booked after official release date) doesn't seem like it's that rapid a conversion rate. Later in the year, after SP1, we'll start to see if corporate customers are ready to show it some love. Until that time, it's an open question as to whether Win7 accomplished any thing beyond changing Vista's name.

    1. James Whale


      Unlikely there'll be an SP1 in the traditional sense - MS are much more into incremental updates these days.

    2. sandman

      Corporate Upgrading

      There may be a considerable number of companies like ours who are busy trialling it with the firm intention of introducing it later this year. So far it has received a pretty warm reception. Of course, you don't change a corporate OS without making damned sure all your mission critical software runs on it and it plays nicely on your infrastructure.

      Some of you may think we could move to a flavour of Linux instead. This is simply not possible, like many corporates we use a lot of software that is Windows specific, partly for historical reasons and partly because there are applications where there is no Linux alternative (or the alternatives aren't suitable). Like many other companies we do use OSS on a large scale, but just not for our desktop OS...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    You know...

    Microsoft, as an organisation, have such a low reputation and a track record of bull ... and I think announcements like this are just so much crap and stupidity ... that this is likely the last of its kind that I can even be bothered to expend the energy to comment on.

    We've had so much spin, from so many different angles, that I believe most sensible people are actually able to smell it a mile off.

    Personally, instead of "news" like this actually engaging me, I just become apathetic and switch off.

    After all, I don't give a flying hoot how many other people are using it or whether I wake up after an extremely drunken party cuddling a traffic cone with the Microsoft logo on it. (That party thingy was a real waste of time!) The only thing I give a flying about is whether it is a good thing for ME to use (sorry about being a bit selfish on this one) and quite frankly, I, for one, don't exactly relish a return to the days of not only having to buy a new OS every two years, but when I was actually looking forward to a new release because all the promises of the previous one weren't lived up to.

    I look back on those days and think of all the time I wasted.

    I don't actually CARE how good Windows 7 is, because it will be studiously replaced with Windows 8 in short order and I'll have to replace all my bleedin' packages again.

    I have switched to Kubuntu, not because how good Kubuntu is (and I have to admit that although it has its problems and is quite a learning curve, I am finding it to be a smoother operator) but because of the nanying experience that Windows and its packages has become.

    (hey, as it is my last comment on this subejct I might as well make it a good one!)

    Licence codes, serial numbers, registrations and activation codes coming out the wahoony ... it takes me about one to two days to install Windows and get my apps working nicely on it. On Linux, I just install the OS, execute a long "apt-get install" statement, mount my home directory and I'm up and running in a little over an hour.

    Microsoft just can't compete with that. Yeh, Linux was a learning curve, but it was worth it.

    I don't want to buy in to a system or company that is hell bent on fixing things so that I have no choice other than to go through them (so tough titty, Apple, you lose on that score as well - with all you guys have done to the app store, I'll never buy an iPhone)

    Microsofts attitude, as far as I'm concerned, means that they can all go to hell in a handbasket. I don't care how many units they've sold ... all I care about is that they do right by me, the consumer ... something they've been doing less of as the years have gone on.

    You know what ... it beats me solid why none of those twits that employ DRM, registration and all the rest of that bull, dont get it through their thick skulls that the only people who actually get inconvenienced by this stuff is the PAYING CUSTOMER!!!!! The pirates sure as heck don't have to suffer this junk.

    If STEAM couldn't be secured, then I'm fairly sure that nothing MS can do will hold back the pirates for long.

    So, thank you, Microsoft, for producing another non-announcement that doesn't actually mean anything to anybody. Like I really give a damn about how much product you've sold.

    You know ... I wanted a trial of Windows 7 ... just to see what it was like. I was outside the mass publicised trial period but I felt sure that MS would be able to generate a code that would last a few months, just so I could see what the hype was about ... but no .. they couldn't!!! I'm not going to part with good money and tie myself in to a restrictive OS based on the hype; I want to get my hands on it myself ... on MY terms.

    Microsoft ... get with the times. Customer is king again, and you're attitude just doesn't cut the mustard. So tell your sales figures to the hand ... 'cause the ears don't believe it when the nose reports a suspicious smell ... (or something like that.)

    You know what else ... on two occasions in my IT career, it was actually my knowledge of Novel and Linux that put my head above the other IT staff and saved my butt from the dole queue.

  12. DT

    Re: I smell BS


    If M$ or any other company lied to shareholders about sales then it would become rather apparent at the end of the financial year with massive legal implications.

    @a/c Took me all of 30 seconds to find a company selling laptops without an o/s. And does a mac not count as an alterative? Or are you going to tell me it's a separate market (In which case is there not an illegal OSX install monopoly on them!)? Er, no, so I suggest you refresh your definition of "monopoly".

    Where's the EU investigation into this? In the same place as the EU investigation into sales figures being falsely inflated to boost shareprice - it's going on right now in cloud cuckoo land.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Not suprised at all...

    Windows 7 is a worthy successor to XP - it took almost a decade, but microsoft finally got there.

    In terms of performance, it shines. I get a performance boost in some games over XP, which is good, because that's all I use windows for at home - for everything else, it's the Apple or the Penguin.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    So this article is MS "big up their own numbers"

    But after Vista and the world in need of an upgrade for their PC's with OEM lockins to Win7, are we surprised. Anyone surprised by increased sales?

    I do however like the really short adverts for it now (so much better on the eyes and ears than the stupid first adverts they did), anyone else notice serious lag when doing the snap and the shake features on the laptop. You should watch it carefully, quite embarassing really.

    @James whale

    I got windows 7, in the first month I had to do a complete reinstall from scratch. It is the shoddiest piece of crap ever and that is saying something after Vista. My hardware works fine with Vista, XP and ubuntu. but Windows 7 hates it, I have nothing but trouble. But if you push the OS with games etc, it very quickly falls over. I have read reviews and not one of them has a dual core, twin GFX and runs SLI with sleep mode. Nor do they run it with a gaming case, headphones and speakers. If they did I would bet they too found it falling over, crashing after coming out of hibernation, not liking speakers and headphones together, OR the G50 gaming keyboard which requires two usb's to be disabled before it will work.

    If I had paid for it, I would have been annoyed by now. :)

    1. John727

      The True Face of W7

      @ac (So this article is MS "big up their own numbers")

      This is exactly what I'm waiting to hear. The real truth behind the state of Windows 7, at this point in time. I figure another six months for the hype to die down.

      Having been through the loop with Vista 64, where an early install caused nothing but trouble with a rich variety of applications and hardware mix and *cough* actually using your PC to do more than just game, or tap out a CV (e.g. Video capture/editing, CAD, Software Development, Digital Audio Workstation, Media Centre, etc.), I'm in no hurry to experience that all over again. Especially now, since Vista 64 is actually working 1000% better than on day 1 and I already shelled-out to replaced perfectly good, older, hardware peripherals that were never going to work properly with it anyway.

      No, I'll wait for the Service Pack, the updated drivers, the missing feature patches, the compatible hardware, all the pain to pass and above all a tempting offer (price-wise) to move from the desolate wasteland of Vista 64 Ultimate to whatever the equivalent W7 landscape is; and if that never happens, then my next stop is the frozen ice-caps inhabited by the penguin.

    2. James Whale


      I'm running an almost identical setup with no problems and bought Win7 last October. Installed fine on my quad-core, SLI rig and has run like a dream ever since. No hardware problems AT ALL (the OS found every driver by itself) and plays demanding games perfectly.

      Your experience of Win7 is far from typical.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Channel stacking?

    I imagine there's a story for El Reg there. Maybe a discreet chat to the OEMs would reveal some interesting facts. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that MS had promoted a buy-now pay-later approach to licences, which would dovetail nicely with their claim. You might want to check the wording very carefully.

    Ditto on buying Windows PC's and then installing Ubuntu. That's about $105 that went to MS in recent months, for no discernible benefit. (I really do wish the competition regulators would get their act together.) But I don't think we are a representative sample. At the moment.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Microsoft humbled? I don't think they know what that means!

    I'm likely to buy a copy of W7 soon... but only so I get the right to run XP on the machine it'll be for.

  17. jake Silver badge

    Something smells in Redmond.

    I've been in the computer business for over a third of a century. I have contacts all over SillyConValley, and clients all over Northern California and LA/San Diego (and a few in Chicago & NYC). None of them, not a one, at home or at work, is running or considering switching to Windows 7. Most are sticking to XP for the duration ... the folks getting new computers are purchasing Macs and/or deciding to switch to Linux/BSD instead of re-re-training themselves in Microsoft-speak every couple years.

  18. g e

    90 million?

    And of course all those 90 million 'customers' ASKED for win7, nay DEMANDED it, naturally.

    I wonder how many got wiped for XP or Ubuntu

    15 million is my guess, anyone else ?

  19. Chris iverson

    So its the article

    where MS gets to drop its wang on the table. Well true or not good for MS. I rather like W7 and the transition from XP to it was pretty easy. Im happy with my choices so far, penguin based phone, xp laptop with various penguins on USB sticks and W7 gaming rig that I leave off since I kill the planet every time I turn it over.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Go on . . . Just admit it

    So many comments along the lines of:

    I don't believe the numbers.

    I don't believe people should upgrade anything, ever, so this makes no sense.

    Windows is crap, just use Linux (or MacOS, although not so many of them out trolling today, which is curious.)

    Yes, I bought it, but I don't like it.

    Yes, I bought it, but that was an accident.

    Yes, I bought it, but I didn't inhale.

    Yes, I bought it and I like it, but it should have been shipped 3 years earlier.

    Etc, etc,

    Is it so difficult to accept a simple sales figure? It's for a company that reports financial results quarterly, so has to show the money sooner or later.

    The product is - gasp - OK, and people are buying it. That's it.

    Is this so difficult for Reg readers to comprehend?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant

    Operating system market share:

    Windows 92%,

    Mac 5%,

    linux still bumping along at under 1%

    Of that 92% Windows share :

    XP = 65.49 %

    Vista = 16.51%

    7 = 8.92%

    So by my maths that means that just over 8.2% of computers are already running W7.

    Sorry, just tell me again about how 7 has flopped and 2010 is the year of the linux desktop?

    1. Chronos Silver badge

      Re: Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant

      Ah yes,, because nobody ever spoofs their user agent for compatibility purposes, do they?

      The numbers are skewed; probably not as much as the fanboys would wish, but they really are unreliable.

  22. sleepy

    Not actually news

    Microsoft's OS is a monopoly tax on PC's, and frightfully boring and tedious in truth. This story is pre-choreographed hype from Microsoft based on preparations made last year. Exactly the same techniques were used with Vista ("Microsoft's fastest product launch ever: nearly 40 million copies sold in the first 100 days"), plus an extra one. Techniques used:

    1. Channel stuffing (MS has done this with so many products, including Xbox and Zune): the count is the number of copies and OEM installs sold to distribution and to OEM partners. Attractive one time deals encourage them to buy ahead. We aren't told how many are still in the channel, unsold to users.

    2. Bundling: pretty hard to buy the PC you want without W7, and often there's a downgrade right to XP. Still counts as a W7 sale even if it's never installed.

    3. (the enormous one) Recording months of Vista sales before WIndows 7 release as "Windows 7 with a temporary Vista install licence". Under GAAP accounting rules, Microsoft is not allowed to recognise these sales until the entire deliverable has shipped. And Hey Presto, months of Vista sales before W7 launch can be counted as W7 sales after launch. This deferred revenue amounted to $1.7B, which at $50 a pop for Vista OEM licenses amounts to 34 million or so Vistas sold before release being called Windows 7's sold after release.

    4. New with W7: pre-selling a full retail copy of W7 Home Premium (transferrable from machine to machine rather than tied to a single machine install) for just over £40 including delivery (a quarter of the price of the corresponding Vista edition). Anyone with a brain who knows they are locked in with MS will have bought this, and anyone in the trade is likely to have bought as many as they could get away with (officially max 3 per customer, I think). A full copy for less than the OEM license price.

  23. Willum08

    Not True....

    @ sleepy

    Quote "2. Bundling: pretty hard to buy the PC you want without W7, and often there's a downgrade right to XP. "

    Try : No OS on most of their PCs : No Problem !

  24. Equitas
    Thumb Down

    Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

    The fact is that most XP users chose not to upgrade to Vista. And that includes me.

    Sure, I've bought three laptops and a desktop that have had Vista on them as OEM installations. And all of them are still running Vista. I don't like it, but I don't hate it. It doesn't do anything for me that XP doesn't do.

    Business and individuals who have gone without upgrading to Vista are likely to use 7 or its eventual successor only when they see a need to use it or when it comes on new hardware.

    The worm has turned. The writing is on the wall for automatic upgrading, and that's not before time.

  25. Stewart Knight

    Volume Licensing

    We have a schools volume licence for 70 computers

    Suddenly MS have given us 350 32bit and 350 64bit licenses.

    Therefore we have 700 instances of Windows 7 that we have NOT deployed.

    Whats the betting the we're part of the sales figures!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not quite what it seems

    Going from Vista to Windows 7 is like the Irishman who was found banging his head continuously against a wall. "Why are you doing that?" a friend asked him. "Because it feels so nice when I stop," replied the Irishman.

    No wonder people like Windows 7! It's like the dawning day after a long, cold, dark night. You don't worry too much about what the weather will be like; it's enough that the night is over.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    @ RE: Are you serious?

    You live in a dream world mate, i work in IT and I know very few full time Linux users only the techs play with it or use it. I know allot of ordinary home users and not a single one of them run Linux, i've actually put it on a few 'competent' users PC's but they just didn’t like it and don't want to spend the time familiarising themselves with new apps/interfaces.

    Most XP users ‘will’ end up upgrading to Windows 7 most that I know are already talking about a move to 7 and seem to like it. I know this doesn’t sit well with the FB’s but it’s fact deal with it.

    Oh and grow up for goodness sake just because some people aren’t savage MS haters and don’t want to spend their evenings and weekends downloading and installing operating systems or even learning a new one that came on the new PC doesn’t make them idiots.

  28. Dennis Wilson


    Microsoft's claim that Windows 7 is the biggest selling O/S in history is just a play on words. Everyone else would point out that Vista was the biggest flop in history, and it was the biggest mass escape from an O/S in history.

    Bill Gates is also the biggest tosspot in history.

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