It's been a while since Microsoft execs shared an official count of licenses of Windows 8 sold. Last time we got a tally was in May 2013, when the Softies said the company had sold more than 100 million licenses.
On February 13, however, Microsoft's Executive Vice President of Marketing Tami Reller, casually dropped an updated figure of 200 million Windows 8 licenses sold. Reller made that remark during an appearance at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference. (I listened to a live Webcast.)
Microsoft's silence since last May about Windows 8's sales rate has been taken by many as proof that the company isn't selling Windows 8 as quickly as it had hoped and expected.
Windows 8 and Windows RT went on sale on October 26, 2012. Microsoft officials said they sold more than 40 million copies of Windows 8 the first month it was commercially available. On January 8, 2013, Microsoft officials said the company had sold 60 million licenses of Windows 8 to date.
On May 6, 2013, Microsoft officials said the company surpassed the 100 million Windows 8 licenses sold milestone. At that time, the Softies said that 100 million figure was on par with the number of Windows 7 licenses the company sold in its first six months on the market.
Windows 7 hit the 240 million licenses sold in its first 12 months. Windows 8 is now just past 200 million after about 15-plus months on the market.
Microsoft's "licenses sold" numbers are "sell in" numbers. That means these figures include sales of licenses to OEMs, as well as Windows 8 upgrades. They don't include copies of Windows 8 sold via volume-licensing agreements. The "licenses sold" numbers may or may not also include Windows RT license numbers. (Microsoft officials have declined to say.)
During her 30 minutes of remarks and answers to questions at the conference, Reller didn't mention the imminent arrival of Windows 8.1 Update 1 by name. She did remark on the "more rapid cadence" on which the Windows team has been delivering, while adding there are "more things coming just around the corner."
Reller said that the Windows team is making advances on making the footprint of Windows smaller for smaller-sized devices. A smaller footprint is one of the features expected in Windows 8.1 Update 1. Last I've heard from my sources, Microsoft is expecting to push out Windows 8.1 Update 1 to Windows 8 users on both ARM- and Intel-based systems via Windows Update in early April 2014.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed Reller's 200 million Windows 8 licenses sold figure with the following statement:
“Windows 8 has surpassed 200 million licenses sold, and we continue to see momentum. This number includes Windows licenses that ship on a new tablet or PC, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. The figure does not include volume license sales to enterprise. Windows is a central part of life for more than 1.5 billion people around the world, and we are looking forward to the future.”