Microsoft: More than 200 million Windows 8 licenses sold

Microsoft: More than 200 million Windows 8 licenses sold

Summary: Microsoft has surpassed the 200 million licenses sold milestone with Windows 8, according to Vice President of Marketing Tami Reller.


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.”

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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  • Microsoft's silence...

    ... I didn't know they needed to release numbers every month?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • 200 milion eyeballs....

    MS being way behind in mobile, manages to get their mobile interface onto 200 million eyeballs within 15 months. Maybe that was the force it on them and fix it later strategy the whole time? It worked. But now they need to fix a bunch of stuff to remove consumer confusion. It was messy but it can only get cleaner in time.
    • 400

      That would be 400 million eyeballs... As long as everyone has both...Or maybe there are few with 3. :)
    • I wonder how many Windows 8 Users there really are....

      ...the user base is certainly growing. The constant negativity from people on site like these has definitely had an affect. Someone that doesn't really know much can read one critical article and be turned off by the OS entirely. I am a fan. I have upgraded 2 PCs to Windows 8 (now 8.1), plus a Window RT. Not sure if Windows RT is included in the 200M number... but there are 3 of us in the house, so that is one user per license. Anyway, I hope the continued improvements can convince more to give it a chance. If you still don't like it, move on.
      • Sold but Not Installed and Used.

        Our company bought a large number of desktops and laptops in the last couple of months and all of those machine were licensed for Windows 8 (sold), but all of them had Windows 7 installed and Windows 7 is being used. We do not have a single machine running Windows 8 in the company and have no plans on installing or running Windows 8 on any desktop or laptop until Microsoft allows a boot to desktop and a Windows 7 Start menu as an option. We do have Windows Server 2012 installed and running, but we are not going to force Windows 8 on our employees/users.

        Again, that statistic is for sold, not used.
        • Oh give it a rest already.

          "Sold but Not Installed and Used."

          There's no denying some percentage of Windows 8 sales are not being used. But there's nothing to suggest it's a significant number. Regardless a license sold is a license sold...the money is in the bank whether used or not.
          • Honesty

            It would be easy for MS to report how many are 'used'. They should be able to report, from the number of MS server contacts for updates to licensed systems.

            But that may reveal too much.
          • Analyst don't care about used.

            They care about quantity sold. With that said there has been no proof provided to demonstrate any significant number of Windows 8/8.1 licenses are going unused. If you have some please provide it. Otherwise stop with your baseless claim.
          • I too have an unused Windows 8 license...

            ... I bought it to upgrade my home computer running Windows 7. But after trying it out on my laptop (on which Windows 8 came pre-installed) I decided to not upgrade.

            Until MS restores the original look and feel of its OS, I am not going to upgrade. Metro is an irritant (I don't want to switch away from my work space to launch another program) and not having a start menu is an even bigger irritant!!
          • Speaking as a user of W8 ...

            You can leave your window open, click in the lower left corner OR press the Windows key and call up a new page. Finish that task, close out the page or press the function key (between right hand Control and Windows keys, on most keyboards), click on the lower part of the screen, just about anywhere, and go back to the page you were on.
          • @Compute_This, you can have the old feel with Windows 8.1

            @Compute_This , follow step 3 in ZDnet's article to see how you can boot to your familiar desktop and hide the metro view. This will give you the speed, performance, apps, and security benefits of Windows 8.1, but the look and feel of Windows 7.
          • RE: I too have an unused Windows 8 license...

            hahahahaha. I cannot stop laughing at your comments. You bought an upgrade you decide not to upgrade. What is it?

            Don't want to switch from your work space to launch another program? Here is the lie. If you are working on "your work space" meaning desktop. You will already have all your "working programs" on the taskbar or pin as an icon to the desktop. You don't have to leave your work space. Beside going to the Metro section to get another program that works with the desktop only takes 1 second, 3 at the most if you are blind.

            I laugh because of the FUD you are trying to ditch out and prove your ignorance and never try Windows 8. BTW, take the Darth Vader mask so you can see better.
          • It's available now if you know what you are doing.

            Get some help and use Windows 8/8.1 the way you want to, not the default screens. Very easy to do. Quit beating yourself up.
          • Analysts may not care but the company should

            If Microsoft doesn't care about the idea of sold but not using it should. If they need new hardware but back up to windows 7 and Microsoft never gives the desired changes they could lose that customer forever.
          • RE: Analysts may not care but the company should

            Analysts don't care, because as soon a license is sold, it's money on the bank. Analysts have very short attention span. It's all about now, who care about the future.

            As for Microsoft, they win if you buy Windows 7 or 8. If not now than tomorrow (hence the future). Look at the stocks. It's very low but Microsoft always have hit the revenue and profit expected. It's the real deal, a blue chip company. On the other side, Apple have a inflated stock value, but it's very volatile with every change. Didn't sold enough IPhone, stock goes down. Something new is coming up next month, stock goes up. That is what investor (Wall Street) like. The up and down, so they can buy low and sell high. While Microsoft is just the same, month after month, year after year. It's what you invest for the long time.
          • Does it really matter?

            Few companies upgrade their OS in the first year. Whether you buy Windows 8 or Windows 7, a license is a license. Microsoft sells licenses. Always has, always will.

            Consumers don't know or care about which OS their PC is running as long as they can run their favorite program. Only businesses care about the cost of the transition - which is why they will not upgrade to Windows 8 until they are confident that most of their PCs are ready. This is all tied to their hardware replacement lifecycle.
            M Wagner
          • Well my company having over

            250 software packages. Software compatibility needs to be assured before we go to WIndows 8. We were testing Windows 7 for years
          • Like I said before they don't care if

            someone is using Windows 7 or 8 if they've purchased licenses for both. It's like Pep Boys doesn't care if someone doesn't use the tires they sold to someone. They don't care if they bought tired from someone else as long as they did buy some Pep Boys tires.
          • Never seen it used outside of the home

            I work on over 70 corporate sites for large companies, and local authorities in the UK and I have not seen a single device using Windows 8, all new machines in the last few years have been Windows 7, Prior to 2011 they were still using XP on new machines, and until they sort out the start menu and desktop, I can't see any of them using it. Even now as they are panicking to get rid of all the XP devices before April, they are all going Windows 7. And once you remove the modern UI and bring back the Start menu you're left with a slightly improved version of Windows 7 which is what they should have done to start with, and then just developed the touch UI for Tablet, my surface went on ebay last week as it just got too annoying trying to use the desktop apps without the touchpad and even with it, it was far from perfect.
          • About 30%

            here in Germany. Our users get a choice, 7 or 8. I'd say it is close to 50-50. Outside I've seen several company owned PCs and tablets running Windows 8.

            I've only seen one XP machine in the last 6 months.