back to article Windows 8 launch outdoes Windows 7's, says Microsoft bigwig

Microsoft's new operating system has sold 40 million units in its first month on sale, a Microsoft top bod revealed at a conference yesterday. The 40m Windows 8 licenses have been sold since October 26 said Tami Reller, Chief Marketing and Financial Officer for Windows. Customers were upgrading to Win 8 faster than they had to …


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  1. The BigYin

    "Sold"? Not quite

    "Microsoft's new operating system [was shipped on] 40 million units in its first month on sale [because the user had no other choice]".

    Unless there was some stampede into retail store that I missed, articles and figures like this are utterly pointless.

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Black Helicopters

      Re: "Sold"? Not quite

      Don't forget the seriously cheap upgrades Microsoft has been offerering, I know of quite a few people who have taken advantage of them. Wouldn't surprise me to find out a big part of that 40 million units were cheap upgrades.

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: "Sold"? Not quite

        I bought an upgrade for my machine, which came with Windows 7 Home Premium, and since then the only place that the version of Windows 8 Pro with Media Center that I got from the cheap upgrade has been installed is a virtual machine that I haven't turned on and still has one, maybe two icons on the desktop for it.

        I got it (because it was so cheap and that's X amount of years of extra updates MS will have to give me if the time comes that Windows 7 gets phased out) and got upgraded with it, and got free keys for Windows Media Center from MS for it, and still can't be bothered to actually USE it. It's just too much a drop in productivity for me and does NOTHING that 7 couldn't do on the same hardware.

        I'll keep it in the VM, on the basis that disk space is pretty cheap nowadays and VT instructions in processors make it "free" to run, but only really for the Pro features that let me manage a network I might stumble into without having to fight for licences or use another machine. ANd if there's anything I really *need* from Windows 8 (unlikely at this stage), I can run it in VMWare's Unity mode and get the Windows 8 windows showing on my Windows 7 desktop.

        I have no doubt they sold a BUCKET of upgrades at one-tenth the cost of a newer, more featureful copy of Windows (the MS store keeps giving me some ridiculous prices to upgrade this Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Pro, for example). Of course. But that doesn't mean it's a success.

        I'd probably lay money that in the YEARS it will take to kill off Windows 7 (hell, we've only just barely managed it with XP, haven't we?), that Windows 8 VM of mine will become increasingly irrelevant and never make it onto bare hardware.

        It's easy to get huge sales figures for a turkey of a product, by just lowering the price to some ridiculous value that most people will fling on just for the hell of it. What would be more interesting is development and distribution costs vs that income, which of course MS are unlikely to publish until they have a Windows 9 that they really want to push by "recognising" that nobody was using 8.

        1. pixl97

          Re: Lee Downing

          >the MS store keeps giving me some ridiculous prices to upgrade this Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Pro, for example

          Ever since 8 has come out, the Anytime Upgrade feature has not worked for me. I've tried to upgrade two different W7 home edition computers to pro for my clients at different times, so it appears they are pushing everyone to 8 in that feature. Had to buy licenses from a different source and upgrade that way.

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          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: "Sold"? Not quite

            I don't think typical Windows users have ever upgraded their systems, with Windows 95 being the sole exception. Even if the upgrade were free and Windows 8 had pretty much the same interface as Windows 7 I think there wouldn't be a lot of takers amongst average users unless it was pushed out via Windows Update.

            Microsoft trained people in the past that if you upgrade a working system it'll become much slower with the new OS. Even though that isn't true anymore since Vista (as 7 and 8 are basically service packs for it) people have been trained otherwise. While the power users can point to all the improvements between Vista and 7 and 8, your typical PC owner wouldn't notice the difference beyond the interface, so why would they bother? Don't fix what isn't broken.

            For a long time Microsoft made money from how bad their OS was, as people who got computers infected with spyware saw them become slower and would buy a new one falsely believing the slowness was a result of the old one being obsolete. Now people keep their PCs forever, because Security Center hassles people into getting AV software and PCs sold in the mid 2000s are still more than fast enough for the typical user.

      2. pixl97

        Re: "Sold"? Not quite

        If any sizable percent of these were cheap upgrades to the pro edition then that number represents a considerable loss compared if they were sold to the customer as an upgrade edition or OEM disk. Of course Microsoft makes most their money selling to OEMs and businesses, but it reminds me of Vista where cheap/free upgrades where easy to get, yet it didn't gain much traction in market.

        Of course Microsoft is going to try and spin this in any good way possible in an attempt to get someone to develop for the TIFKAM on all the devices it's pushing out.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget the retailers

      Some retailers (and a lot have absolutely no idea about IT) also bought in heavily because they simply followed the whole Microsoft doctrine.

      Well, that and the opportunity to make a good profit; buy now, sell /much/ more expensive later....

      The fact alone that Microsoft only looks at sales figures, no matter to whom they sold it to, says enough.

      I smell deja-vu.

    3. Mikel

      We have this to go by

      Apparently declaring victory early is a Windows tradition.

  2. jason 7 Silver badge


    I've bought 4 copies so far. No issues.

    More than I bought at release for any other OS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well....

      I've bought four tablets. More than that actually.

      (Of course they were Google spyware laden, Metro was the last straw.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well....

      Just goes to prove a fool and his money are easily separated

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well....

      well, hey, it must be good.

      I'll get my credit card

  3. LordBrian


    Sorry I feel more inclined to believe the filings of Enron that these figures.

    1. Blitterbug

      Re: Lies

      Indeed. Win7 was universally lauded. Reviewers loved it across the board. It pretty much flew off shelves. Plus, peeps were actually buying more tech back then; the recession hadn't fully bitten in just yet. Whereas Win8 has generated plenty of negative press, and generally there's less spending cash sloshing about for spunking on new kit. I simply *cannot* believe these figures.

      Personal observation, 'cos it's relevant: over the past two months I've experienced roughly a 50% drop in people using me to commission new laptops & PCs. It's possible (probable?) people just think I suck, but I'm going with fewer sales of new (and therefore Win8-laden) kit as the primary reason. Also, I have had two instances where people bought laptops in Comet's recent sort-of-fire-sale who were specifically hoping for Win7, ended up with Win8 and wanted assistance 'downgrading'. Their request, unsolicited.

      In six years running my own biz I've only been asked to 'downgrade' PCs 4 times. One was a Vista laptop four years ago. I talked them out of it (did a clean install plus both SPs to show 'em how quick it could be), one was another biz at around the same time who simply insisted point blank that I do this to two new Vista desktops they'd just bought - and the other two times were the two Win8 laptops this month..... funny, huh?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    On sale article sells better than full price one

    So, now you can "legalise" your copy of windows for €30 (it was even possible for €15 until last week) instead of a few hundred Euro, and people buy more? Colour me surprised... Even I am tempted, to update the W7 starter partition that came on my netbook and that I only use when I need to search on corporate email (search only works on IE). If I can disable the fugly tiles easily with classic shell I might do that.

    Not to mention that this includes forced "upgrades", ie, this 40M include shipments to OEMs.

  5. DS 1

    veiled.. in shadows

    The sales figures are just that. There has been heavy discounting, including £14.95 offers. With the level of discounting taking place the figures can be very spurious. I don't think anyone who is sensible actually believes 8 is bigger/better/selling harder than 7 - its just not seen on the street and in the feedback. Only low percentages of people like 8, most hate it.

  6. jai

    win7 : not dead yet

    Our corporation will be upgrading from XP to Win7 at some point next year.

    I doubt we'll see Win8 here for many years

    1. What of IT?

      Re: win7 : not dead yet

      We are using Windows 7 on all the PCs that don't use all our old legacy software we have due to lack of investment in IT the past. For all those users that still need the legacy apps we have a nice Windows XP image that has ballooned to 9gb in size! I can see Windows XP hanging on for A LONG LONG TIME, and 7 is just getting started for us. Windows 8ista, I can't see many takeups myself. Microsoft must be thinking "Shit, we did it again"!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: win7 : not dead yet

      Yes but you will be buying windows 8 licences even to run windows 7 hence ......

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worst DT interface ever

    Makes Gnome 3 actually look productive.

    Look MS what the hell were you thinking, W7 good OS, W8 nice underpinnings but totally shit UI. How much quicker would W8 be if all the metro (go on sue me) garbage were ripped out ?

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  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    vs. Desktop Linux and OSX

    With 40 million users so far, when does Windows 8 overtake desktop Linux? Any figures for OSX?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: vs. Desktop Linux and OSX

      Within five minutes? Ten at the outside?

    2. tirk

      Re: vs. Desktop Linux and OSX

      One way to tell is to track it here when November's figures are out. For October, the share for Win8 ("Windows NT 6.2") was 0.32%, Linux was 1.48% and OS X was 8.42%, so it's got a way to go.

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  9. Piro

    Oh dear

    So they sold it very cheaply, allowing many people who potentially had no legal copy of Windows to grab a cheap copy (it being utterly trivial to do a clean install from an upgrade disc), and now they think those sales are somehow a thumbs up for Windows 8.

    Barely anybody is talking about migrating their enterprise solutions to 8. There are a few excited by 8, but they really are the exception, from taking a general impression on forums and so on.

    7 is fine, so they'll have a problem pushing people in large numbers to it. Of course, people will get it when they get a new machine, as usual. But does that mean they actively wanted it? No, they just needed a new machine.

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      "No, they just needed a new machine."

      Not quite- they just were told they needed one.

      1. Piro

        Re: Oh dear

        It's a fair point, but as more people move to laptops, I would wager a lot of them get broken in incidents and replaced.

  10. M Gale

    From the article:

    License sales don't equate automatically to users and many of the licenses will have been sold to PC manufacturers who will pack the software on machines to be shipped out over the next few months. Reuters estimates that only 15 million users are currently using Windows 8.

    From Phoenix50:

    Microsoft have SOLD 40 millions Windows 8 licenses. They've not "shipped-40-million-and-we're-waiting-for-OEMs-to-sell-them-all-and-then-pay-us"... it's 40 million licenses IN THE BANK - and they're laughing all the way to it!

    I do like this discrepancy.

  11. K Silver badge

    Windows 8 launch outdoes Windows 7's ...

    At Failing!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Corporate bullshit

    And this is following news that Surface hasn't really taken off as well as Microsoft wanted it to, and that corporates are not planning a Windows 8 upgrade at all?

    Sorry, but I do not buy into this.

    Of course, is she is referring to the number of £14.99 upgrades sold on new PCs, and the upgrades available to Volume License customers, then I guess that is almost believable.

    But to say more people were eager to upgrade to 8 from a previous OS? Bullshit. I tell you something, I know people who don't know anything about Windows 8, and that is the god honest truth. And to the rest who have only just upgraded to 7? No way, we're only just getting used to this version as I've just upgraded from XP.

    I like Microsoft, I work for an MS partner, I don't mind their products, but their corporate bullshit irates me.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Corporate bullshit

      I wonder how many of those $14.99 upgrades were paid for by shops and manufacturers - Staples and HP have both offered refunds of the fee on Win7 hardware since August, must be many others doing the same.

      $14.99 is so cheap anyway I'm sure many just bought with no immediate intention of installing, just to lock in the price. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of XP users did the same to lock the $39.99 upgrade even if they intend to carry on using XP till a few service packs arrive. Compared to the upgrade price for Win7 and the growing evidence Win8 can be bludgeoned into a passable desktop experience it's a tempting gamble.

      MS are gambling future app store sales will more than cover the lowered license income from these cheap upgrades. Having used the POS since launch it's hard to see where they spent much money anyway, ripping out code is pretty cheap, especially when done with so little care. They probably cover costs at $15 anyway!

  13. banjomike
    Thumb Down

    Windows 8 launch outdoes Windows 7


  14. RobArb

    I upgraded to Windows 8 on my gaming machine just so I could help customers with it if they had it and it actually hasn't been to bad once you get past the whole metro thing and world of warcraft, mumble and Startrek Online seem to like it well enough.

  15. N2 Silver badge

    Pointless figures

    Shipping however many million means nothing as the shelves are heaving with computers & Ive personally seen very little interest. To me it would be far more meaningful if the number of W8 active nodes was reported as for years Windows calls home and MS must be able to count them.

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  17. The Alpha Klutz

    its so cheap

    that it legitimises all the pirate installs of more expensive older versions

    if theyre just gunna make it 15 bucks now, its a bit of a piss take really

  18. John P
    Thumb Up

    @The Alpha Klutz

    That is very true. I haven't paid for a Microsoft OS since Windows ME (still bitter about that by the way), but £15 seemed too good to miss. Even if it turned out to be a pile of shite, just revert to a backup and no major loss.

    As it is, I am surprisingly happy with the upgrade - £15 well spent.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Windows 8 is the best. you are wrong. buy windows 8.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      fuckin' good point

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comedy Gold!

    Heh heh, loving the sense of desperation coming from the usual anti MS bigots. ‘But, splutter, we all persuaded ourselves that W8 was rubbish and now we find out that it is selling like hot cakes’

    Anyhow, someone from MS reading this would probably think:

    1) That the poster who said they had paid for an upgrade and ‘only installed it on a VM’ is kinda missing the point. That represents both a unit sold (you are one of the 40 million) and revenue (kerching!) for Microsoft. Who cares how you chose to deploy the SW you paid for?

    2) That all the posters banging on about ‘how corporates will choose not to buy Win8’ are missing the point that most corporates are under an EA license so they have already PAID for Win8 irrespective of whether they choose to deploy it.

    3) That the bloke who posted that Win8 has ‘away to go’ based on October Wikimedia stats probably needs reminding that Win8 shipped on the 26th of October. Even so, in October it was still being used by more people than use popular ‘flavours’ of Linux (i.e Ubuntu) – even before it has been officially released.

    The thing that really makes me chuckle though is that in a few years time the same group of bitter luddites will be banging on about how they will never give up Windows 8 to move to the latest version of Windows because it is rubbish, they do not like the UI, the product will be a ‘fail’ etc etc.

    It is all deeply comical. I do not think I have seen a bunch of people on a technology forum who are as consistently clueless and wrong as the little cabal of Register MS haters who have commented on this article.

    Oh yeah – and 2013 will DEFINITELY be the year of Linux on the desktop!!!!!!

    1. Goat Jam

      Comedy Indeed

      A Windows fanboy pops up (posting AC, natch) to declare victory on the basis that some MS spokesbot said Things That Shareholders Want To Hear in much the same way the same spokesbots did when Vista was the "fastest selling version of Windows evah. EVAH!"

      I loved the part where you described how business "customers" are locked in to paying for Windows whether they use it or not. Like that somehow makes Windows 8 a super success or something.

      Love your work dude, have a frosty beer on me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Comedy Indeed

        Ah bless, one post in 45 dares to go against the freetard group think and you get all upset. But thanks for the beer.

  22. Goat Jam

    Maybe all the Windows XP refuseniks are buying cheap W8 upgrades and then exercising their downgrade rights to install W7

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