Microsoft launches Windows 8, Surface: By the numbers

Microsoft today announced Windows 8 and the Surface tablet at an event in New York. The software giant also threw out some interesting, previously unseen numbers and figures. Here's what you need to know.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Microsoft launched its latest operating system Windows 8, and its first tablet endeavor, Surface at an event in New York today. 

Related: ZDNet: Windows 8 | Surface | CNET: Surface | Windows 8 | Microsoft statement | Techmeme

During the event, Microsoft executives and vice-presidents took to the stage to show off the latest statistics and figures for Microsoft, Windows 8, and Surface. Here are the latest numbers you need to know:

  • More than 1 billion Windows PC users around the world. Windows president Steven Sinofsky says the company is "looking forward" to the next billion;

  • 670 million Windows 7 licenses since the operating system went on sale in 2009, the fastest adoption by businesses ever;

  • 11 million photos on SkyDrive, Microsoft's own cloud-based service for documents, photos, and other content;

  • 14 petabytes of SkyDrive data churned up to date, with more than 2 petabytes of data added by users every month;

  • 16 million installs of the pre-release version of Windows 8;

  • 1.24 billion hours of Windows 8 testing by developers and beta testers;

  • 650 pages of blogs on Windows 8, according to Sinofsky;

  • $39.99, the price of a Windows 8 upgrade for consumers;

  • More than 1,000 certified Windows 8 PCs ready to go once the operating system is made available to the general market on Friday;

  • 109 languages will be supported in the new Windows Store;

  • 231 markets in which the Windows Store, the new application store for Windows 8 apps, will be made available to end consumers;

  • 420 million existing devices will support Windows RT, the ARM-based version of Windows 8;

  • 400 million new PCs expected to be sold, according to analysts, most of which will run Windows 8, says Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer;

Other numbers to consider from earlier reports:

  • For Ballmer, it's make or break: although not necessarily for the company itself. Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead, concerned about Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, said: "This is going to be his defining moment," adding: "If Windows 8 is not a success, a lot of people will be looking for Microsoft to make a change at the CEO level." 

  • Triple the shipments: Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt expects Microsoft to shift around 3 million Surface devices by the end of the year, while tripling that shipping figure to 9 million in 2013. By comparison, Intel is expecting to ship more than 20 million Windows 8 tablets, excluding ARM-powered Windows RT tablets. Holt said in a research note last week: "Our survey in May 2012 of 7,500 consumers suggested that 25 percent of consumers expect to buy a Windows tablet at any price and 30 percent would buy a Windows tablet at parity with an iPad."

  • The PC knock-on effect: Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu observes that HP's slip from the worldwide PC vendor top spot, according to Gartner figures -- though disputed by rival firm IDC, may not be helped by Windows 8. In fact, Wu believes that the latest Microsoft operating system will not be able to save the PC maker. "We have lower confidence in its turnaround strategy," he said in a research note earlier this month.

  • A third of the market? Forrester analyst Frank Gillet said in a recent report that Windows 8 will likely get off to a slow start, while its smartphone counterpart will remain "a distant third." He said Microsoft will see continued growth in both Windows and Windows Phone, but overall its share will remain small, and that despit the touch-hype, the software will fare better on the desktop than on tablets.

  • PC pricing: The pricing is the crucial factor here, particularly for the PC market which continues to see quarter on quarter declines. IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell said the price range for the new hybrid devices is "not pretty." The iPad, as the main rival in the Microsoft tablet perspective, remains a focal point for competitors' pricing, but tablet rivals are not taking heed. "The problem is these things are priced way too high. Look at the history of tablet products priced above the iPad."

Microsoft has seen a relatively flat year. Since the firm's recovery post-recession in 2009 where the software giant rose its shares close to $31 a share, Microsoft has not suffered any major blows to its stock price. That said, it's hardly gone off the charts either. 


Pegging at a healthy $27 a share, Microsoft is faring well. But so far, only hours after the markets opened, little has yet to yield from the company's share price. The firm's market cap currently stands at around $235 billion, but the magic really happens when the markets are about to close.

Interestingly, around 11 a.m. ET when Microsoft's event began, Apple's share began to dip by more than 1 percent. Apple was rising up until that point. Microsoft now rivals Apple in the business and enterprise tablet space.

We'll keep this updated throughout the day. 

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