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Microsoft Has Sold 60 Million Windows 8 Licenses

A Microsoft executive claimed today that 60 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold to date.

That new figure comes from Tami Reller, chief financial officer and Windows chief marketing officer at Microsoft. She spoke on Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Tech Forum (audio recording), which was part of this week's Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The new figure represents quite a bump up for Microsoft's newest desktop operating system. For instance, at the end of November, following the October launch of Windows 8, Reller had claimed that Windows 8 licenses had reached the 40 million mark. Reller explained during the J.P. Morgan Tech Forum talk that the 60 million licenses figure represented a combination of OEM sales and user upgrades.

Reller emphasized the team effort behind Windows 8, particularly in conjunction with Julie Larson-Green, who now heads the Windows Division, subsequent to the departure of Stephen Sinofsky in November. Reller called Windows 8 the "biggest ambitious change" for Microsoft since Windows 95. The changes included the new apps, new Windows Store and the new user interface of Windows 8.

Reller avoided a question about possible consumer confusion associated with Windows 8. She noted that Microsoft got involved with building the hardware and selling its Surface tablets through its own retail stores to get a sense of both matching hardware and software and seeing consumer reactions. Microsoft knew that the touch interface would be a big demand driver for Windows 8, but underestimated how big it would be. Based on Microsoft's data, Windows 8 customers are using nearly all of the OS' features in the first 24 hours, she said. The goal was to make it easy to use.

Microsoft is now working to get its Surface products distributed via other retail stores.

"We always had it in our plans to talk with retailers to bring Surface into broader distribution," Reller said. The problem was that some retailers wanted to get the product on their shelves very quickly -- in some cases, in just two days' time, she explained.

New Surface Pro tablets, which use traditional PC x86 architectures, "will hit the market in the weeks ahead," according to Reller. "It's a Core i5, so the performance is terrific," she added.

As for Windows 8 adoption by corporations, Reller said that Microsoft expects that Windows 7 will live alongside Windows 8 in companies. Corporate adoption of Windows 8 will come about for two reasons, she said. First, companies would become interested in using Windows 8 apps. Second, companies may start adopting the new OS as new Windows 8 devices, such as tablets, are brought into the workplace. Reller noted that the Department of Defense just "made a big bet on Windows 8 last week." She also provided a figure for business adoption of Windows 7, saying that "we're now well past the 60 percent mark with deployment."

Reller was asked if Microsoft, as a hardware vendor, would produce an ultrabook or phone device. She avoided the question, stating that the company was "very focused on Surface."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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