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Microsoft: 1 Billion Windows 10 Installs by 2018 Is Unlikely

Microsoft will likely fall short of its prediction that Windows 10 will be running on 1 billion devices by mid-2018. Terry Myerson, executive VP of Microsoft's Windows and Clients group, delivered that bold forecast a year ago at the Build 2015 conference, just three months before releasing Windows 10.

However, that prediction presumed that Microsoft's newest Lumia rollout last year would boost, or at least maintain, its fortunes in the mobile phone market. The company's decision to scale back its efforts has changed the equation enough for Microsoft to acknowledge reaching the 1 billion milestone could take longer than originally anticipated.

The conformation came from Microsoft Corporate VP Yusef Mehdi in a statement to author Ed Bott, who offered some perceptive insights on the lessons learned in the year since Windows 10 shipped in his ZDNet blog. According to Mehdi's statement:

Windows 10 is off to the hottest start in history with over 350 million monthly active devices, with record customer satisfaction and engagement. We're pleased with our progress to date, but due to the focusing of our phone hardware business, it will take longer than FY18 for us to reach our goal of 1 billion monthly active devices. In the year ahead, we are excited about usage growth coming from commercial deployments and new devices -- and increasing customer delight with Windows.

Bott pressed the issue after noting that after Myerson set the 1 billion devices goal last year that he "did the math on that claim" and determined it was indeed realistic. "But my numbers relied on Windows Phone continuing to sell at least 50 million handsets per year, in addition to upgrades, for a total of at least 200 million Windows 10 Mobile devices in the market by 2018," he explained in last week's analysis. "That's not going to happen. And, meanwhile, the traditional PC market continues to shrink, slowly."

Despite pulling back its Windows Phone ambitions, Bott noted in his Redmond magazine Windows Insider column that it doesn't necessarily spell the end of the Windows as a platform for mobile devices, including tablets and third-party phones. A noteworthy example includes the forthcoming Windows 10-based HP Elite x3 running on an ARM processor. HP introduced the Elite x3 device in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The x3 aims to bridge the functions of a phablet and a PC using Microsoft's Continuum, the technology introduced in Windows 10 and Windows 10 mobile that allows users to connect large displays, keyboards and mice and run both Universal Windows Platform apps from the Microsoft Store and traditional Win32 and .NET applications.

HP today said the device will start shipping later this month starting at $699, with a complete bundled solution including the Desk Dock set for release Aug. 29 starting at $799. In addition to HP, Microsoft has recently identified Acer, Alcatel, Trinity and Vaio as its current roster of phone hardware partners.

Microsoft can only hope that demand for HP's x3 and other forthcoming devices can exceed expectations and prove its scaled back expectations wrong. But for now, no one appears to be betting on that.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/18/2016 at 12:29 PM


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