Microsoft: We've sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses to date

Microsoft: We've sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses to date

Summary: Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses to date, according to the chief marketing and financial officer of the Windows division.


Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since October 26.


Tami Reller, the Chief Marketing and Financial Officer for Windows announced the tally during her appearance at the Credit Suisse Annual Tech Conference on November 27.

Microsoft had not released any sales figures for Windows 8 other than saying the company sold 4 million upgrade licenses of the operating system to those with previous versions of Windows during the first three days it was available. Microsoft launched Windows 8 commercially on October 26.

How does this compare to Windows 7 sales? Microsoft said it had sold 60 million Windows 7 licenses from the end of October 2009, its launch date, to the end of January 2010 December 2009. So that's 60 million Windows 7 licenses sold in two months. So far, Microsoft has sold 40 million licenses of Windows 8 in one month.

Reller did not release any sales figures for Microsoft's Surface RT tablet/PC devices, which also have been on sale since October 26. She did reiterate that Microsoft will have the Surface Pro, the version of the Surface running Windows 8 Pro, availalble in January 2013.

Reller spent much of the first 25 minutes of her presentation about Windows 8 and Surface reiterating Microsoft's design philosophy. She cited a number of statistics meant to show that users were positive about the Windows 8 PCs and tablets that have are in the market and coming to market in the coming months.

"For $39.99, you get Windows 7 made even better," Reller said. (That $39.99 figure is the cost of an upgrade license during Microsoft's current promotion.)

Reller is one of the two primary leaders in charge of the Windows division -- along with the new head of Windows engineering, Julie Larson-Green -- now that former Windows President Steven Sinofsky has left the company. Sinofsky's immediate departure was announced a couple of weeks ago.

Reller was asked about Sinofsky's departure during the Q&A part of her presentation. She emphasized that the foundation of Windows is in great shape and that the Windows unit has a deep bench. She said she'd personally miss working with Sinofsky in the future.

Reller shared a few other stats during her remarks including:

  • Microsoft now has certified 1,500 PCs and tablets for Windows 8, up from the 1,000 devices it had certified a month ago at launch
  • The number of apps available in the Microsoft Store has doubled since the launch. (She didn't talk about the total number of Windows Store/Metro Style apps available currently, but WinAppUpdate pinned that number at just over 21,500 worldwide this week.)
  • A number of applications available in the Windows Store have crossed the $25,000 revenue mark. (Again, no specifics were shared here.)

Without acknowledging directly the critics -- including yours truly -- who've found Windows 8 less than intuitive, Reller said that users are finding Windows 8 "easy to understand and embrace." She said users are exploring Windows 8 and enjoying learning it, from Day 1. 

Based on customer feedback and information gathered by Microsoft's customer support organization, "We do know that customers do, indeed, 'get' the product," she said.

She said that over 90 percent of those purchasing Windows 8 and Windows RT devices are using the Charms on Day one. (Charms are the icons that provide search, sharing and other basic functions that can be found by swiping in from the right on a Windows 8/Windows RT device.) She said they are using search between two to three times a day every time they are on their devices. And she played up Microsoft's data that found more than half of the users are using the Windows Store on their first day.

Update: Yes, we don't really know exactly what "licenses sold" includes and does not. Sold to consumers? Sold to channel? Includes licenses grandfathered in through volume license agreements. I've asked Microsoft to see if officials will clarify. If they do, I'll add an update here.

And the official word from a spokesperson: "We have nothing more to share."

Topics: Windows, 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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  • Compare

    I'd be curious how this compares to the first month of sales for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
    • as per engadget, it is beating Windows 7 sales
      as per them Windows 8 sold more than Windows had sold in the first month of its release.
      Ram U
      • A sad day for ABMers

        Linux Geek, Sean Connery, SVJN, AKH and what not losers out there: You guys need some tissues.
        • how many surfaces

          sold again?
          • Probably tens of thousand or sth like that

            No one expects the first generation RT as big sellers anyway. MSFT themselves are aiming at a modest #.
          • Pure chess

            Apple just came through an unprecedented wave of good press: iPad dominated mobile sales, Black Friday sales were up, the stock price jumped by its highest margin since 2006, and enterprise is "all in" on iPad with Barclays buying a huge quantity.

            All this announcement is, is a (unclear, muddled) chess move to steal some press.
          • Sorry but, Not buying this Apple BS

            The only tablet I watched sellout on woot was the Nabi2 and that sold out in by 8AM.

            Amazon has iPads and yet their Kindle Fire HD is the #1 most gifted item on their site.

            As for Barclays, they have a vested interest in using Apple products, they are the credit card of choice for Apple... It is what is called a partnership and doesn't really speak to the state of the market.

            At CompUSA, the only tablet they were sold out of was the Galaxy Note...

            At Google, the Nexus 10 wasn't in stock...

            At Best Buys everywhere, they sold through all the Galaxy Tab 2 7" models.

            Bottom line, I'm not buying this to be anymore than a 1 to 1 comparison because Android Tablets are moving as quickly or quicker from what I have seen why shopping around for gifts.
          • Whether or not you buy it,

            there's been a stampede of positive ink for Apple in the media, in addition to positive retail and market dollars. What do you do when you're MS and your rival gets headlines like "the holidays belong to Apple"? You attempt to grab headlines with embarrassing misrepresentations that make tech bloggers like Mary Jo Foley ask, could you be more specific please? To which MS answers: no. Pure chess, and poorly played.
          • What do you do...

            if the first time you try to make a point and utterly fail... you post the same crap again... and again.
          • Here it is

            From TechCrunch: "A Microsoft spokesperson said the 40 million licenses sold accounts for all sales, including those to OEMs and other partners. It’s fair to assume then that quite a few of these licenses haven’t actually found their way to users yet."
          • And neither have most of those iPads - because they will be Christmas gifts

            So ...

            Until January, we won't know much at all about how significant any of the numbers reported by Apple or Microsoft might be.
            M Wagner
          • I can't afford to buy everyone an ipad

            A kindle is the next best thing I think. I don't need my nieces and nephews stalked by android spyware, and I can't afford the surface for them either.
            I'm not sure how the security plays out on a kindle but I have no heard the same issues that kids have with android malware. I'd get everyone ipad minis if I could but kindle fire is the next best thing for a select few, for my situation. Is there any explanation why malware and spyware seems less an issue on kindle than official android, for kids and mobile noobs?
          • My not have made it to the final end user but there is a huge

            difference between licenses sold to OEMS and a product sold to the consumer even if it won't be opened until Christmas, it's still an actually sale to a consumer.
          • @gregv2k

            "Whether or not you buy it, there's been a stampede of positive ink for Apple in the media."

            "Positive ink" can be bought as well... by Apple or any other large company for that matter. Believe whatever makes your heart skip a beat... I'll just continue to buy the products that work for me.
          • MS doesn't care where the ink comes from,

            their job is to blunt its impact. But as we now know, they were in fact throwing everything including the kitchen sink into those numbers, invalidating any real-world impact they might have had.

            Sucker born every minute, Badger.
          • Good ol' gregv2k...

            ...still at it with Microsoft penis envy. You'd think they laid him off or something.
          • And that should be the only factor that matters.

            Be it Apple, Android, MS or whatever, buy what works for you and that you like the best.
          • Agreed

            I don't see iPad selling that much recently, around me almost everybody's buying the Nexus 7.
          • Google is too shady for me

            They control the android project so that any real official android is about as open source as an iPhone, requiring their spyware layer for full functionality and play behind the scenes game to strong-arm and keep things that way, as revealed by the skyhook lawsuit, while pretending to not have control so they don't have to be responsible for updates on the various devices they make billions from the info collected.
            There's more, but at least apple's honest about the price you're paying.
            I would use a cyogenmod device, since google's deceptive practices doesn't negate the real good work the open source community does.
            I don't know if I'd go as far as a nexus device sold at cost just to stalk and track your info. I'd always be looking over my shoulder just to save a few bucks to "get over" on them. It's a clear deal. Give them access to stalk you and rifle through your info and habits and get a cheap tablet. I don't think I'd win gaming that system. I feel like amazon is more trustworthy to make that deal with, since google plays too many games to make it appear otherwise.
          • Our personal observations don't really mean much

            Around you almost everybody is buying the Nexus 7 yet I don't know a single person that has done so. Does one invalidate the other, of course not.