Microsoft: 60 million Windows 8 licenses sold to date

Microsoft: 60 million Windows 8 licenses sold to date

Summary: Microsoft has sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses to PC makers and those upgrading as of early January, officials said at the Consumer Electronics Show.


Microsoft officials said the company has sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses to date.


Tami Reller, Chief Financial and Chief Marketing Officer for Windows shared the data at the JP Morgan Tech Forum at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 8.

That 60 million figure includes "sell in to OEMs for new PCs" and upgrades, said Reller. She didn't explicitly cite whether the figure also includes any Enterprise Agreement/volume license sales.

Update (January 9): The 60 million does not include Enterprise Agreement/volume license sales, a company spokesperson confirmed. I would assume it includes Windows RT OEM sales (but not upgrades, as there's no existing Windows on ARM platform to upgrade from), but so far cannot get anyone from Microsoft to confirm this.

"Windows 8 is a big, ambitious change," Reller acknowledged. She reiterated that Windows 8 sales are roughly in line with Windows 7 sales.

Microsoft said the company had sold 40 million licenses of Windows 8 as of the end of November.

Reller said the sales are "roughly in line with where we would have been with Windows 7."

NPD has cited that retail demand for Windows 8 was off through the end of 2012

In part, Windows 8's less-than-stellar retail sales can be attributed to the lack of touch-enabled laptops and tablets running the operating system. At CES this week, a number of Microsoft's PC-maker partners have announced new touch-screen Windows 8 and Windows RT hardware, but a number of these still won't be available for months.

Reller was also asked during her appearance at the conference about Windows 7 demand. She said Microsoft believes it is "well past the 60 percent deployment mark for Windows 7," as measured by looking at what PCs across all of its customer segments are currently running. She also said "over 90 percent of enterprises," meaning customers with 2,000 users or more, are "on their Windows 7 journey." 

Reller declined to comment on a question as to whether Microsoft would make a Surface ultrabook or a Surface phone. She did say that "it's really important for us to do well with Surface."

Microsoft shared another stat today. Company officials said that Microsoft has passed the 100 million Windows Store (Metro Style) app download mark.

Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Here we go again

    How many Windows 8 PCs have actually been sold? How many copies of Windows 8 have been sold to end users through the retail channel? The numbers of licenses sold to OEMs are meaningless.
    John L. Ries
    • I agree it isn't the whole picture, but how is it meaningless?

      A sale is a sale.
      x I'm tc
      • OEM license sales can be manipulated

        And it would be surprising if sales of Windows preloads weren't reported back to MS. Much more reliable to report retail sales to actual customers (and sales of Surfaces should, of course, be included in the figure).

        MS pulled exactly this sort of nonsense when reporting sales of Vista back in 2006. I don't think it fooled anyone.
        John L. Ries
        • I disagree. I think there's no sales gimmicks going on

          If they sold 60 million, that's 60 million.

          Apple gives the number of units sold, but they don't give activations, anymore on iPhones. That would mean that the number sold also includes sold to retail partners.

          Would anyone claim Apple is manipulating numbers? So if MS says they sold 60 million licenses and upgrades to consumers and OEM's, I'm going to say that's pretty accurate.
          William Farrel
          • Apple is selling hardware...

            ...that actually costs something to make and ship (per-unit cost of licensing software is almost nothing; development costs are fixed). But I think Apple should report activations (there's really no reason not to).
            John L. Ries
          • Yeah and

            Apple still counts sales to the channel as sales and their computers don't move nearly as fast as their iOS based products.
          • And?

            A sale is a sale. However indulge me - provide proof of your claims if you can. Otherwise it's simply more FUD and lies from an Apple hater.
          • AND? Athynz

            It says in the article 60 million. Prove they didn't. MORE FUD from a crApple FANBOi
          • Nope

            For Microsoft sale is a license sold to OEM and its partners. Not yet to be installed anywhere or even placed on shelf. If you want to get the licenses sold to customers for in use, you need to check the sales from OEM and retailers.

            Same thing is example with Nokia (and other phone manufacturers). The phone is sold at the moment it is left from factory. As the phones goes from production line to packaging department where they are packaged by carrier own workers in carrier own boxes etc. From where carrier then use own transportation contract to ship them to wanted stores.

            With Microsoft the case is that it just sells licenses. Many medium to big corporations buy own licenses from Microsoft, but buy hardware from OEM. The OEM will ship the computer with windows license in it, what it bought from microsoft. But corporation IT department goes and overwrites the HDD/SSD with its own system image with the corporation own license from Microsoft. So the license what OEM sold, is usually not used at all. For Microsoft both licenses are sold, but only one of them is in use.

            And Microsoft counts every license sold as sold, even when they aren't in use by OEM or corporations. As both buys a bunch of licenses what then they use in next weeks/months/years to come, depending how much and how big their needs are.

            Thats why it is easy for Microsoft to say "XX millions sold!" while it is true for them, but for markets it can be that only 1 million of them is actually sold for users (read retailers and OEM customers).

            For Microsoft the "sold" doesn't come when retailer or OEM sells their product, it comes when they buy the license from microsoft.
          • And you think OEMs are fool

            to buy 60M licenses without the demand?

            If Microsoft got paid for those 60M and OEMs actually bought that from Microsoft, it suggest some momentum. 60M is a big number even for say 20 OEMs selling Windows 8.

            Or it could be pre-order from OEMs (which I highly doubt).
          • Nope. See my post above.

            In the case of purchases from Microsoft it's better to 'pay' for 1 million licenses and not sell 50% of them than to pay for half a million that are actually sold. You make more money by pay for 1 million than you do by paying for what actually sold.
          • p.s.

            this is how monopolies work.
          • Don'tUseMicrosoftAtAll...I know, like Google, Right?

            Then the FCC only slaps them on the wrist after it was proven they were using their Search monopoly to promote their own products. Wow, talk about turning a blind eye.
            But as it's known, no matter what happens to MSFT, Google and Apple and any Linux will owe it's existence to Windows forever. Google, by becoming search leader on top of the massive Windows PC marketshare. Google would not exist w/o Windows.
            Same with Apple, they woudl still be that little niche player with 3,000.00 to 5,000.0 PCs if it weren't for iTunes for Windows. That allowed their "i" products to become popular so they also owe their entire success to Microsoft.
            That will always be the history of how Google and Apple were both born on top of Windows and had to ride their coattails to have any success at all.
            l don't think we'll see Google or Apple be stand up companies and admit the facts to the world that they owe their success to Microsoft. That will never happen, but it doesn't change the facts.
            And if Windows hadn't grown so fast and in such massive numbers, where would the internet be today? It would be decades behind. I really doubt those 5000.00 Macs were going to spark the Web the way over a billion Windows machines did? Not a chance. Linux was not ready for any kind of real use until 2005 at the earliests, so there was no OS to make the web sprout like it did except Windows.
            Bill Gates is truely responsible for the Web as we know it today.
            So youi may not use Microsoft products per se but you use what Gates made possible for you.
          • Yes. And trust me. OEM's are happy to only 'move' 50%.

            OEM's, if they were to buck Microsoft and try to get refunds for the licenses they did not 'move' (i.e. actually sell to a consumer) they would fall into a category that would increase the per unit price so high they would lose money. Microsoft = Pay little for our OS and allow our hugh sales figures to fly -or- Pay twice as much so you don't make any money.
          • Sorta

            There is discounting in volume but not to the point of buy double, pay same. Taken to the logical extreme, that idea would mean that all manufacturers only payed less than the cost for a single license to get millions of licenses.

            So it is a balancing act between volume discount pricing vs forecasting.

            Essentially, number of licenses sold means bugger-all early in terms of customer sales but correlates somewhat with expected demand from the manufacturer. But as the time horizon moves out to a year and beyond licenses sold correlates increasingly well with customer sales.
          • Once the numbers are large enough, sales to OEMs close to numbers used ...

            ... just because most manufacturers work to just-in-time supply logistics, and software easily allows that. The numbers in the pre-end-sales buffer will be a very small & of the total.

            There is no double dipping of licences for corporations because the companies supplying hardware as part of a managed package do not need to supply licences if the enterprise already has their own contract with MS (or partner).
          • Because they don't make money on activations

            they make money on the sale of hardware. Investors don't care how many iphones they activated, they care how many they sold, to retail partners and end users.

            That's where they get their profit from, Same goes for MS - they get paid on the number of licenses sold, not on how many the OEM's sell. Sure, the more OEM's sell the more MS sells to OEM's but that's different.

            And it does cost MS to develop software. From employee pay, benefits, 401(k), management, maint costs, network infrastructure, testing, download servers, shipping, packaging ect, it all takes a physical infrastructure.

            Now one digital copy (which exists in the physical world, so...) that can be duplicated and issuesd a key, that key is what is sold, and it's a real as hardware.

            When Apple gets "paid" for their hardware, do the retail partners send them a check, or a case full of cash, or do they do an electronic file transfer?

            So if that file is as powerful as real money, then software is just as real as hardware, and so those licenses are just as valuable as anything tangible.
            William Farrel
          • And how is Microsoft got paid?

            Do they get paid when OEMs actually sell those hardware with Windows 8 pre-installed?
          • Nope.

            They get paid up front based on the contract sold to the OEM. Buy 1 million licenses for 60% of covers the fact that only 50% of those licenses purchased are actually sold to the end user. If the OEM only buys half a million there is no discounts hence it actually costs then 10% more. That is how Microsoft works their numbers.
          • OEMs don't have to order and pay for all up front