Microsoft: More than half of Windows devices in the enterprise are now on Windows 10

Microsoft says it has hit a new milestone with Windows 10. But is being on half of all Windows devices in the enterprise worrisome or a positive, at this point?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

With just over a year to go before Microsoft no longer will support Windows 7 for free, the company has achieved an interesting milestone. More than half of all Windows devices in the enterprise are now running Windows 10, officials are saying.

Microsoft officials began floating this number at the company's recent Ignite IT pro conference. During Microsoft's Q1 FY19 earnings call on October 24, CEO Satya Nadella stated it quite plainly, telling analysts and press that "more than half of the commercial device installed base is on Windows 10."

When I asked for clarification after Ignite, a spokesperson told me that "based on Microsoft's data, we can see there are now more devices in the enterprise running Windows 10 than any other previous version of Windows."

How does this map to Microsoft's oft-cited statistic that there are 200 million commercial Windows 10 devices? It doesn't really, as that 200 million number also includes small/mid-size business (SMB) customers, too, I was told.

Is it comforting or alarming that just under 50 percent of Windows devices in enterprises are still on an earlier version of Windows at this point?

This may not be as worrisome as it might seem, given volume licensees have ways to continue to get security patches for Windows 7 past the January 14, 2020 support cut-off date -- either via terms of their Software Assurance agreements and/or by paying for these patches via Extended Security Updates.

Microsoft introduced Windows 7 in July, 2009. A number of enterprise customers didn't begin deploying Windows 7 well into its lifecycle, and in some cases, only months before Windows 10 debuted in July, 2015.

While Microsoft execs are keen to play up Microsoft's transition from the Windows company to a cloud vendor, Windows is still a significant piece of Microsoft's overall business. Microsoft doesn't break out how much of its "More Personal Computing" category comes from Windows. It also includes gaming, Surface and advertising in that segment, which contributed $10.7 billion for the quarter. "Productivity and Business Processes" brought in $9.8 billion and "Intelligent Cloud," $8.6 billion.

Recently, a top company executive said that Microsoft's cloud business was contributing slightly less than a quarter of overall annual revenues -- a percentage that surely would surprise many, given how much Microsoft officials talk about the cloud and how little they talk up Windows these days.

As usual, Microsoft played up growth of its various "commercial cloud" -- Azure, Office 365 commercial, Dynamics 365, and LinkedIn commercial services -- as part of its latest earnings. In Q1FY19, Microsoft hit $8.5 billion in commercial cloud revenues, officials said.

An interesting statistic that Microsoft execs related threw out there: This fiscal year, Dynamics ERP/CRM is on track to hit $2.5 billion in revenues, with half of these coming from Dynamics 365 -- and the rest on premises versions of Dynamics, I'd assume.

Office 365 Commercial subscribers hit the 155 million mark this quarter; Office 365 Consumer subscribers are at 32.5 million now.Gaming revenue was up 44 percent for the quarter, with officials citing strong GamePass, Xbox Live and hardware sales ahead of the coming holiday quarter. And server products continued to exhibit strong growth in the quarter, as well.

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