About that 1 billion Microsoft Office figure ...

Summary:One statistic that Microsoft officials cited on June 15, the day Office 2010 began selling via retail, seemed off to me. According to Microsoft (based on comScore numbers), there are 1 billion copies of Office installed across the globe. Here's the fine print behind that figure.

One statistic that Microsoft officials cited on June 15, the day Office 2010 began selling via retail, seemed off to me. According to Microsoft (based on comScore numbers), there are 1 billion copies of Office installed across the globe.

Hmmm. Aren't there also just over 1 billion Windows PC users out there? Does that mean every single Windows user also has Office on her/his machine?

I asked Microsoft Business Division Senior Vice President Chris Capossela about the data during the Office 2010 consumer launch party in New York City last night. (To see some shots from the party, check out blogger Long Zheng's pictures of the orange-themed event.)

Capossela said Microsoft and comScore aren't claiming there are 1 billion Office users out there. Instead, the company is now saying they believe there are about 750 million of them worldwide. (That's up from the 500 million figure that Microsoft's Office team has been touting for the past couple of years.)

ComScore is estimating the total number of PCs upon which Office has been installed, which means it includes PCs where Office trialware that may or may not have been upgraded to a full-fledged copy is part of the count, he said. The 1 billion figure also includes pirated versions of Office, as well as situations where individual users have Office running on more than one PC.

"They're doing extrapolations," Capossela said. There's no way they've actually gone and counted what's running on 1 billion PCs, he added.

The comScore Tech Metrix service, which the company launched in 2007, is like the other measurement services. It monitors information from individuals who agree to share tracking data with comScore. The measured Tech Metrix hardware data includes system manufacturer, processor name/type, operating system, service pack, CPU, RAM, hard drive size, CD or DVD drive, screen resolution, video and sound cards, and more. The software tracking includes installed programs and version number, interactive duration, default browser and browser settings, number and size of data files, and multimedia file types.

Other new numbers shared by Microsoft this week include the Redmondians' prediction that more than 100 million consumer and small business PCs will ship with Office 2010 over the next 12 months. That figure includes new PCs preloaded with Office Starter 2010, which is the replacement for Microsoft Works. Capossela said that Works was installed on about 40 million consumer and small business PCs in a typical year.

Another statistic Microsoft is touting is the speed at which Office 2010 users will be able to install the new suite, as compared to previous versions of Office. Using the new "Click-to-Run" streaming technology, customers who decide to install any of the full SKUs will have to wait only one or two minutes to start using Office 2010 (as the rest of the bits stream onto the user's PC behind the scenes). That's a lot quicker than the 15 minutes to hour-plus that Office customers had to wait when installing previous Office releases, including Office 2007.

One last point worth mentioning again: Microsoft said earlier this year it was doing away with cheaper upgrade SKUs with Office 2010.  I agree that it seems crazy counter-intuitive that Microsoft isn't offering its existing Office user base any kind of real deals/incentives to stick with Office in the face of more competition from Google Docs, etc., as well as from the "the Office I have is good enough" syndrome. But that's what the Softies are doing. You've got to hunt a bit for an Office 2010 deal, as my ZDNet colleague Ed Bott noted, but there are some out there.

Topics: Hardware, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Microsoft


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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