back to article Microsoft corrects itself: 'We expect fewer people to use Windows 8'

Microsoft doesn’t really expect that 500 million "users" will have Windows 8 next year, but it’s still juggling the numbers. The company has said reported comments by chief executive Steve Ballmer on Windows 8 uptake in 2013 are a "restatement of data" by a company employee in December 2011, and that these stats relate to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    my ass, methinks they mis-understood this for miss-ass-essment of mis-facts.

    And it's one of those cuckooland re-statements along the lines of: our software has been illegally downloaded by 100,000,000,000 pirates, multiply that by £200 a pop asking price, thus we have lost 100,000,000,000 gazillions last year, oh no, we're going bust, somebody do something, quick, we're bleeding, and when we go down in flames, the whole world is doomed!!!


    1. dogged

      Worst. Reporter. Ever.

      Here's what Paul Thurrot has on this -

      [quote]This week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was widely reported (including right here in WinInfo) as having said that he expected to see as many as 500 million Windows 8 users by the end of 2013—a fairly impressive feat given that the product will have been on the market about 15 months by that time. Microsoft PR contacted me to explain that he never actually said that, but wasn’t able to provide a video or transcript of his speech, nor tell me exactly what he had said. But the basic gist of it—since, again, no one seems to be able to provide this very basic information—is that Ballmer was simply reiterating a statement the company had made previously in its Windows Store blog, that there would be more than 500 million Windows 7-based PCs ready to upgrade to Windows 8 by the time Windows 8 ships. And the credible Todd Bishop says that Ballmer actually said the following in his speech: "With something like 400 million to 500 million users expected in the next year, the best economic activity for people building machines, and the best economic opportunity for people writing applications, will be around Windows." Point being, Ballmer was talking about Windows generally, not Windows 8 specifically.[/quote]

      Yes, I know BBCode doesn't work but it's a nice delineator.

      Gavin, do you get this crap from Google or what?

    2. Allison Park

      Re: restatement

      Windows 8 = Windows Vista

      No one will "upgrade" to that crap. Windows 7 is the next XP.

      If you stay on windows and dont move to apple, android, linux, etc. you will be on 7 for the next 8 years.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Richard Jones 1

    MS Dreaming

    Having tried Windows 8 on obsolete hardware it runs well except for those play bricks on start-up and the issue of how to shut down - no charm in 'charms'.

    I wonder what the upgrade to Windows 7 rate will be if new PCs are hindered with that 'mess for mobiles' is stuck on them?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS Dreaming

      Shutdown? Tried the power switch?

      1. Ilgaz

        Re: MS Dreaming

        Someone trusts to ntfs journaling too much I think.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS Dreaming

      You mean "I wonder what the downgrade rate will be from Windows 7"... right?

      1. Richard Jones 1

        Re: MS Dreaming

        No, I did mean the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7 - if 8 still has those silly play bricks on what passes for a start screen. As I said the OS runs well on low rent hardware - except for its BSOD problem with some software so the play screen is a pity..

        1. dogged

          "Silly play bricks"

          I'm counting up the number of people who consider themselves too stupid to use a launcher but I can't tell from your comment whether you think you're stupid or whether you're just following the herd.

          Please clear this up for me so that I can get an accurate count.

  4. chris lively


    When I first read the 500m number I laughed.

    Enterprises take a long time to switch. Also, regular folks rarely jump on an OS upgrade outside of a new of purchase.

    I'm a developer and a business owner. We're on 7 and have absolutely no plans to roll to 8 when it ships. Our machines are fast, stable and they work well. I haven't heard anything regarding security improvements so it really boils down to user interface changes. And the win7 interface looks great as it is.

    In short, sure MS has 500m opportunities. Odds are that their conversion rate is going to be sub .1% though.

    1. Bill Neal

      Re: Yawn

      Just because 500 million people (or systems, since most people use more than one these days) were desperate to get away from Vista, Ballmer thinks that = 500 million just as eager to use win8? At least somebody over there had some coffee and decided to let the rest of the world know that was just a dream

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: Yawn

        I'm surprised they did not say 7 billion potential customers then, with 14 billion (two per customer) purchases...

    2. Graham Wilson

      Re: Yawn - - - Yawn 2

      Thankfully, my enterprise is still on XP except for a few laptops.

      And the next upgrade won't be to Win-8 either (decision made after seeing W8 consumer preview).

      Like heavy industry that keeps its tools for 20-30 years, upgrading won't be undertaken unless it's necessary or the upgrade actually offers something SIGNIFICANTLY better.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Developers, Developers and err Developers?

    To quote

    We’ve just passed the 500 million licenses sold mark for Windows 7, which represents half a billion PCs that could be upgraded to Windows 8 on the day it ships. That represents the single biggest platform opportunity available to developers.

    'could be upgraded to Windows 8'

    Not frigging likely.

    But seriously, will the majority of current Windows Desktop App Developers ditch pretty well everything they have invested and seitch to Metro? Somehow I doubt it.

    I wonder if there is some mileage to be gained by add devs promoting 'Not Merto compliant' once they get round to porting (and certifying) their app on Windows 8?

    1. MIc

      Re: Developers, Developers and err Developers?

      What do they have to ditch? All of the legacy apps still work just find on windows 8. I've been using win 8 at work to develop software since it was released with out a hitch (Moles (CLR detours) not working right).

      Perhaps there is some confusion between WIn8 on ARM and the Win* on x86.

    2. GuyC

      Re: Developers, Developers and err Developers?

      Was that a slip when you said Merto, as in french for a pile of shite or just a typo, can't really tell as my sarcasm monitor isn't currently working

      1. Matthew 25

        Re: Developers, Developers and err Developers?

        Actually that should be Merde, not merto

      2. Antoine Dubuc

        Re: Developers, Developers and err Developers?

        French guy here. Shit is Merde, Caca, bouze, tas, and a lot more, but not merto, mert, mertu, merto or anything like. You = Fail.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Merto' - fantastic

      You've just come up with the new new name: Windows Merto.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      Re: Developers, Developers and err Developers?

      Whether, as Matthew 25 says, it's "merde" or left as "merto", there's already a French connection to "Metro".

      Bloody ripper. Now all we've to do is surreptitiously convince the French the idea started with them instead of cretinous English-speakers and we've had it made.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Developers, Developers and err Developers?

        I think we're on to something. How about 'Windows Muerto' (Spanish for dead?)

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    500million Linux users next year

    We’ve just passed the 500 million licenses sold mark for Windows 7, which represents half a billion PCs that could be upgraded to Linux on the day it ships.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 500million Linux users next year

      Do not underestimate the capacity of most Windows users to endure significant abuse (Vista, Ribbon etc.)

      1. Graham Wilson

        Re: 500million Linux users next year

        As Anonymous Coward says, you don't understand "the capacity of most Windows users to endure significant abuse".

        Of all the factoids learned in my life, I know that one's a certainty (and Microsoft's marketing knows it too).


        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: 500million Linux users next year

          Well I've stumbled across this video and it's painful to watch...

          My Nan Tries Windows 8 For The First Time

          But not because she's a granny who hasn't touched a computer before, around 11-12 minutes in when the VM dialog up (as it was Win 8 running in a Win 7 VM) you can see that she's is familiar with Windows 7, that's to say the standard desktop GUI that we've all been using for the past 30 years, and she mentions that her own computer runs Windows 7.

  7. ChrisInBelgium

    Windows 8?!

    At work, we're all still on Windows XP Service Pack 3 and we just had a mail that we might go to Windows 7 by the end of this year. Windows 8? Yeah, maybe in 5 years or so?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He's never heard of virtual machines, has he?

    this post was intentionally left blank and does not need to be reported.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      Re: He's never heard of virtual machines, has he?

      VMware must be rubbing its hands with glee over Windows 8. Reckon it'll make a killing out of it.

      (I've even upgraded my VMware Workstation in anticipation.)

  9. Marty McFly

    Here's to hoping...

    ....Microsoft will still provide 'downgrade rights' with Windows 8.

  10. Mike Judge

    Rush those Winfows 7 upgrades in now.

    That's what we are doing, as our trials of Windows 8 have been an unmitigated disaster. Perhaps Microsoft made Windows 8 intentionally shit to sell more Windows 7 licenses....

    That's the only possible explanation I can come up with for MetroUI.

  11. Camilla Smythe

    News Elsewhere..

    Bear asks Pope why he shat in Bears mouth.

    Pope claims to be Jewish quoting Google and Wikipedia.

    Ballmer lets Bing admit he does not have clue.

  12. Peter Johnstone

    Count me out.

    Microsoft can feel free to count me out. I took about half an hour to look at the developer preview of Windows 8. That was long enough for me to decide that I never want to see it on any computer I own. Went out and bought a Mac shortly afterwards. Not looking back.

    1. Marty

      Re: Count me out.

      oh ffs.... you already have a mac and just wanted to troll..... just be honest !

      1. Ilgaz

        Re: Count me out.

        He may be trolling or a new Mac user since he didn't say the very basic fact. Basic Mac desktop ui paradigm has not been changed since 1984.

        Extra functions were added in a way that nobody is forced to use them.

        Microsoft can't understand Apple since 1984.

        1. Graham Wilson

          @Ilgaz - Re: Count me out. - - Right!


          Microsoft has a fucking hide to change the UI with every new version of Windows.

          It only does so for marketing reasons, otherwise if it truly wanted to experiment with or improve useability/ergonomics etc., then newer UIs would be optional/selectable at start-up.

          Frankly, when a corporation with an almost worldwide monopoly forces users to comply to every beck and call of its will, then there has to be a touch of fascism in its actions.

          I cannot understand why anti-monopoly regulators just don't instantly stomp on this.

          For just retaining uses to use Metro alone will cost billions worldwide (and totally unnecessarily so).

      2. Peter Johnstone

        Re: Count me out.

        Not quite; I was playing around with a Hackintosh about the same time as I tried the Windows 8 developer preview. A combination of liking what I saw in Snow Leopard and not liking what I saw in Windows 8 made my mind up for me. I've been a Windows and Linux (Fedora) user for years, and before that an Amiga user also have an Android tablet. I only bought the macbook in November, so I don't think I can be classed as a fanboy quite yet.

        1. Ilgaz

          Re: Count me out.

          I had the chance to use macos 7 on a power book duo 270c (the one on independence day) and switched from PC to Mac in g5 times. I was happily using osx which is bsd/next in 3 minutes after all that (5 year) break. Why? Apple didn't change the basics. In fact, I used it with provided 1 button mouse for months.

          That is the part Microsoft unbelievably misses with win 8.

    2. Paul 135

      Re: Count me out.

      You are correct that Win8 is a turd, but you just went and kicked yourself in the foot by "switching to a Mac" and exposing yourself to the whims of an even more evil company.

      1. Peter Johnstone

        Re: Count me out.

        I'm not sure that I've 'kicked' myself in the foot (shouldn't that be shot?) . Apple may arguably be more evil but are definitely less whimsical, as alluded to by Ilgaz. In any case the evil seems to be more obvious on the IOS devices rather than on MacOS. I'm quite happy to use MacOS as my main platform, Android for mobile computing, Linux for my server and Windows 7 for a mediacentre PC.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      A couple more videos... and the same person a day later Using Mac OS X for the First Time.

      Just like Vista didn't do Apple any harm, Windows 8 won't either.

  13. Heikki Härkönen

    Remember Vista?

    I've lately had a big dejavu when reading Microsoft PR. It's like a few years back when they were pushing vista to everybody with XP. And even avid MS fan can't deny how badly that went.

    Here's thedefinite prediction:

    Windows 8 is the new Vista, windows 7 is the new XP.

  14. h3

    If they have any sense they will put back some stuff before release.

    (Windows 7 still has Windows Classic for god's sake)

    The internals are more modern which I don't see any reason to not have.

    But I don't want Metro or anything to do with it.

    (I like Xmonad so I am not against tiling either really).

    What I am against is HTML5 and Javascript and peoples desire to try to do everything with them.

    If they made the first class citizen F# I would be happier.

    I think I may buy a Lumina 710 though I like what I have experienced of it (On an LG dunno which model with the original iteration. So I am not totally against that UI

    And the same UI could be quite nice on a tablet.

    If there are really good keyboard shortcuts it might be less relevant as well. (What I don't want to be doing is moving the mouse half way across the screen all the time and doing tons of clicking).

    As it stands I just press the Windows key (Used ctrl esc until recently) and type the name of the program I want.

    I still position Windows with the mouse but that is it and they stay the same all day pretty much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      (Windows 7 still has Windows Classic for god's sake)

      Err, no, it doesn't. Even with third party add-ons :(

      Some functionality has been removed - Folder Size for Explorer is one example

      1. Glyn 2



        My windows 7 looks like XP i.e. like it wasn't designed with smudgy crayons, the only windows 7 things I can't get rid of are the insane tree view and the damned useless search

        And I'd kill for the "folders" button from XP to make a comeback

  15. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Actually there is one positive thing about it, potentially

    Microsoft is actually taking a gamble. If Windows 8 won't succeed they will be in trouble. However they are doing some things which are partly right. They will sooner or later have to get rid of their old complex win32 and win16 APIs. And that's what they are trying to do now. Had they acted earlier to provide a more abstract generic API, that transition would have gone a lot smoother.

    My guess is that Windows 8 will fail on mobile ARM devices, and Micorosoft will buy a start-up making x86 emulators for ARMs including an automatic GUI refit so they are more usable for mobile devices, perhaps by rendering the original GUI into a hidden framebuffer, then either parsing the graphics or using API functions to determine the position of GUI elements. This will then be arranged into a new touch compatible GUI. Alternatively the position of the elements and/or the new GUI could be manually determined and stored.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: If Windows 8 won't succeed they will be in trouble

      Microsoft is already in trouble, but there is no iceberg on the horizon.

      I think the most likely scenario is an HP-style descent into irrelevance. Once we start seeing annual rounds of layoffs and no new product coming out of Redmond, then we can say that Microsoft is doomed.

      Until then, it's only wishful thinking.

      1. Graham Wilson

        Re: If Windows 8 won't succeed they will be in trouble

        "I think the most likely scenario is an HP-style descent into irrelevance"

        Nothing would be so nice for beleaguered Windows users if it were not for the fact that there is no other competing operating system that is natively Win32/64-compliant.

        Unfortunately, as good as Linux and Apple may be, they're no instant or fully compatible substitute for Windows.

        As long as there is no effective competition for Windows, Microsoft will treat users with contempt.

    2. Hooksie

      Re: Actually there is one positive thing about it, potentially

      Intel have been working on an x86 based mobile chip for years and by the time Windows 8 comes out there will be really nice tablets and touch screen laptops running Windows 8. I've used 7 since the first public beta and it's frankly fantastic, rock solid. Win 8sucks ass on a PC but Microsoft may actually be on to a winner here. Windows 8 on a tablet or touch screen is really, REALLY nice. Better than iOS and far better than ICS. If Microsoft can hammer their way into the tablet market on the strength of the "take your desktop with you" philosophy they will provide a huge bitch slap to Apple.

      3 years from now, more people will be using tablets or mobile computers than PC s and an awful lot of them will be running Windows 8. The PC will still be on 7.

  16. David Gosnell


    Did he say "less" before?

  17. xperroni

    Microsoft corrects itself?

    But I thought Microsoft was never wrong!

    Surely some mistake?

  18. Paul L Daniels

    Microsoft should have "crashed and burned" so many times in the past - but people are just so resiliant to abuse that I doubt Microsoft will suffer from Win8. Oh sure there's screams and yells, there's sizable boycotts ... but after a few months of a couple of years, when Win9 comes out or is proposed, everyone will go right on back into the chamber-of-abuse and keep on taking it. All Microsoft needs to do is just keep the abuse level below that of what it takes to switch to Mint or Ubuntu.

  19. Hoagiebot

    "We’ve just passed the 500 million licenses sold mark for Windows 7, which represents half a billion PCs that could be upgraded to Windows 8 on the day it ships. That represents the single biggest platform opportunity available to developers."

    There Microsoft goes again, happily spouting that any machine that can run Windows 7 can also effortlessly be updated to run Windows 8. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. Apparently Store Partner Program Manager Ted Dworkin must not be taking into account all of the millions of Windows 7 Starter edition netbooks that are out there with 1024x600 resolution screens. They can run Windows 7 just fine, but if you install Windows 8 onto them they will not be able to launch a single Metro app due to the inflexibility of Microsoft's seemingly arbitrarily defined Metro 1024x768 minimum screen resolution requirement. The best that a poor netbook user can do in that case is alter a value in the Windows registry to enable screen downscaling, but then you have to put up with a distorted and very blurry display just so that you can click on that Metro weather app.

    I bring this up because it is a real personal thorn in my side since I own one of the before-mentioned Windows 7 Starter netbooks. I installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview onto it thinking that it would go as smoothly as Microsoft hinted that it would only to later get the rude awakening that Metro apps refused to work. I realize that it has become popular lately to try to marginalize the millions of netbook users that are still out there and pretend that they just aren't as important as all other Windows customers, but don't outright lie either and claim that all 500-million Windows 7 PCs that are out there are all capable of flawlessly running Windows 8. They aren't.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Here's another flaw in that 500 million number

      "We’ve just passed the 500 million licenses sold mark for Windows 7, which represents half a billion PCs that could be upgraded to Windows 8 on the day it ships. That represents the single biggest platform opportunity available to developers."

      When shopping for a new PC I found that the cheapest way to get what I wanted was to buy one that came with Windows 7 Home Premium thrown ih, and buy an OEM copy of Ultimate to put in its place.

      I therefore own 2 copies of Windows 7 but have only one computer to put them on. Even in the unlikely event I'd want to upgrade tio Windows 8, that would be only one copy required.

    2. Hooksie


      You bought a netbook.

  20. Steve Knox

    Dworkin, eh?

    Good with patterns, is he?

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. J 3


    "If anybody does the upgrading, it’s business customers – especially those on Microsoft enterprise licences under programmes such as Software Assurance (SA), who are trying to squeeze the most life from their existing PC hardware."

    Right, as everyone knows that "upgrading" to the next Windows version is a great way to get old hardware to work better...

  23. JaitcH

    I'm waiting until it's available at my Copy Shop

    ... in the meantime friendly, reliable XE suffices and away with those upgrades that cause StartUp Repair that plague my wife's machine.

  24. Dana W

    Glad its out of the closet,

    Some of the people here seem really turned on by Windows 8. Does that make them "Metro-sexuals?"

  25. Tristan Young

    Count me out on Windows 8

    Microsoft, you can subtract the hundreds of computers I administer from your Windows 8 adoption.

    We've voted unanimously to avoid Windows 8. We'll seriously consider Windows 9, especially if you make Metro a second-class citizen on your desktop OS. If not that, Windows 10, or Windows 11. We'll avoid however many versions it takes till you get back on track to producing an OS for us, rather than an OS for yourselves. If it means adopting Macintosh computers, then so be it (and I absolutely hate Mac, so show me the love).

    Never forget your target audience. Never alienate your target audience. Don't make radical changes that cause lost productivity in your target audience.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsucks is trying to convince 500 M fools

    Microsucks can't even write a decent O/S. Why would anyone believe ANYTHING they spew?

  27. mikiep

    Should just give out win8 as an an optional automatic update to everybody with win7 for the first month after its official release .. see how many actually take it. That might put it in use by many so others can hear the love & admiration from those new win8 users.

  28. David Strum

    Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?

    Ballmer is just showing that the Microsoft Tanker is about to run aground. It’s big and it’s carrying a lot of goodies, buts now its getting as dim-witted and sluggish as its CEO. But as someone posted earlier – “Do not underestimate the capacity of most Windows users to endure significant abuse” – lol

    (We’ll have to suck it up – us MCPs)

  29. David Gale

    I can hear the Emperor's fiddle... What's that burning smell...?

    You have to ask how long it will be before shareholders realise that a split-up and sell-off of Microsoft might not be quite the bonanza that they had anticipated. When they do realise, they're going to want to see a more strategic leverage of Microsoft's strengths rather the persistent 'white socks and Gucci shoes' pile 'em high tactical emphasis.

    For goodness sake, Microsoft, get a grip!

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