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Microsoft: We've sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses to date (zdnet.com)
44 points by mun2mun 1641 days ago | hide | past | web | 58 comments | favorite

Win 8 moves ~40,000,000 licenses in first month. Upgrades are $39.99.

Win 7 moved ~30,000,000 in month one. Upgrades were $120 - 220/upgrade.

Vista moved 20,000,000 first month. Upgrades were $129 - 299.

MSFT is offering the DVD-version of Windows 8 for ~$30/more per copy so let's just pretend that the fair price for comparison of Windows 8 is $69.99 (since I assume far more physical media went out of Win 7 in 2009).

So that's still 1/2 the revenue per upgrade they collected in the previous cycles.

Looking at their revenue by division Windows & Win Live have been on the decline:


I wonder how drastically this will impact them - if they see a real, sustained gain in traction vs. Windows 7 adoption in the 25% range, that's not going to make up for the shortfall in revenues but certainly would help to lay a foundation for future growth in mobile / server & tools / business / etc.

I'm not sure I even have a point, just trying to sort through this data and get a sense of what it means for MSFT macro.

I don't think cash flow is Microsoft's overriding concern at the moment. They'll still get plenty of steady income from their corporate cash cows. Right now, I think Microsoft is more worried about the existential threat of a world where people are weaned off Windows. They want Windows 8 to be used in as many places as humanly possible. If they can maintain their ubiquity, their overall ecosystem is secure. They will gladly trade a little profit from the consumer OS market to stay entrenched.

If that were true, then I would have also expected them to ease up on the anti-piracy measures.

They did. By lowering the price. I used to have 2 PC's running pirated copies of windows. Not anymore, they are both running Windows 8 I purchased at a reasonable price of 39.99.

As far as I know that is an upgrade price, which you can only get if you already own a legitimate copy of a previous version.

I do have Windows Vista OEM licenses which give me the right to upgrade to 8, just no windows 7 licenses which i used to run 'illegally'.

But I believe Microsoft knows what they are doing, cause the upgrade assistance does not check if you are running a legit version. It either means they were too trusting that users will be running legit versions before upgrading or it means that they deliberately left this hole in order to get a revenue from users who would otherwise just install a pirated version of their new OS.

The non-upgrade price is lower too unless I badly misremember how much Windows 7 went for.

It seems to be really hard for any big company to be "OK" with piracy, even if that company wants to get its software in as many hands as possible. They simply crave control. This is even somewhat reasonable, as pirate versions may be unreliable in ways that the official version isn't, thus giving a bad impression of your software. They would rather just sell the official version dirt cheap.

"I would have also expected them to ease up on the anti-piracy measures"

Are there any specific anti-piracy measures you're referring to, or just the presence of them?

Actually many who should have paid $39.99 didn't, and instead paid only $14.99. The reason is that the form which asks you about your supposedly "new" notebook purchased can be completed with fake info's and you would instantly get the discount code in your email. I know this because there were talks about it on many forums.

Microsoft's traditional strength has been their ability to lock users into their ecosystem. Windows revenue has been important for them, but as long as Windows helps them secure stable/improving positions for their other products and services, they could profitably license Windows for $0.

Most sales are OEM, not retail upgrades. Doubt OEM prices have changed dramatically.

There was an upgrade discount when Win 7 came out, too, down to $50 [1]. Additionally, as others have pointed out, it's unclear how many of the 40M licenses are upgrades vs. OEM licenses.

[1] see http://www.tomshardware.com/news/windows-7-upgrade-discount-..., for instance

Perhaps they've found a way to bring the costs of managing their app store down enough that they can turn a profit on it.

It is intriguing though.

Most of those are probably OEM licenses which are sold at a pretty steep discount to manufacturers and I believe make up the lions share of any windows release in terms of raw license "sales"...e.g. Dell may purchase a block a 5 million OEM licenses at some sort of discount...50-60% off of retail.

I think Apple & Microsoft both are trying to move to yearly or at least two year release cycle. Windows and Mac OS X upgrade prices otherwise does not make sense compared to prices for 4 year cycles.

Lower prices with shorter release cycle = same revenue.

Complicating the picture is that "licenses" includes upgrades and OEM copies. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd imagine that the OEMs represented a modest bump over Windows 7 - basically just reflecting the expansion in the market for PC's - but that the bargain basement upgrade price convinced a lot of enthusiasts to upgrade on day one.

Anecdotal, but even the dyed in wool Windows guys I know (gamers, .net programmers, etc.) were slow to upgrade to Vista and Windows 7. $120-$300 upgrades that didn't improve performance were hard to justify - the money was probably better spent on graphics cards and games.

According to http://www.forbes.com/sites/netapp/2012/10/11/windows-8-rele..., Microsoft plans to spend 1.5 - 1.8 Billion dollars marketing Windows 8. That's 45$ of marketing costs per copy of Windows 8 sold to date.

A very small percentage of Windows is software-only; something like 10%. And sales to consumers represents a smallish fraction of revenue & profits compared to enterprise sales.

So the lower price for upgrades will not have a huge impact on MS's revenue (or profit).

Which might simply mean that this is the approximate amount of non-Apple laptops (and desktops?) sold since Win8's launch, because most of them are now sold only with Win8 licenses [0]. Hardly a mark of success, but of MS's (doomed?) pervasiveness.

[0] e.g., http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPo...

Yes. This, along with everything else that happens in the world anywhere ever, is clearly a sign that Microsoft is doomed.

What's that, Microsoft announced record profits? Uh-oh, that's a sign they've hit "peak-desktop"- the desktop market will only decline from here. Microsoft is doomed!

Everyone is doomed, just at different times. :)

"Memento mori"! I agree, "market thermodynamics" dictate eventually they will meet their doom, and at that time the perpetual doomsters will find themselves vindicated, like a stopped clock is vindicated twice a day. :)

"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."

That's 10% of the total in the first three days to existing users.

Including myself.

If a month has 30 days then that's also 10% of the time period, or another way of saying it is that sales remained constant over that initial time frame.

The vast majority of these licenses were sold to OEM's, who now have to "get rid of them" in the market. So we'll see how long that takes before they ask for another bulk of licenses from Microsoft. Could be weeks or could be months. If it's months, next time they'll request much fewer licenses.


Doesn't really matter to MSFT/your OEM if you remove Windows 8 after you get it, unless you go through the hassle of getting a refund for it.

Not sure about that. According to the EULA, it appears that you can only downgrade to Windows 7 if you purchased the professional edition:

Instead of using the Windows 8 Pro software, you may use one of the following earlier versions: Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business.

This agreement applies to your use of the earlier versions. If the earlier version includes different components, any terms for those components in the agreement that come with the earlier version apply to your use of such components. Neither the manufacturer or installer, nor Microsoft, is obligated to supply earlier versions to you. You must obtain the earlier version separately. At any time, you may replace an earlier version with Windows 8 Pro.

But just think of the internet points!

Maybe this is their strategy to sell Windows 8 and then also sell a copy of Windows 7.

Has anyone else noticed that any pro Microsoft news gets immediately flagged off the front page? The Hackernews hivemind really is creating its own little bubble.


We should be able see real Win8 usage numbers in the IE10 stats over the next couple of months, at least until IE10 ships for Win7.

I like this line of thinking. But it still only reflect a portion of Win8 user as another portion of them will use alternative browser (chrome, ie).

They booted the guy who headed up the Windows product line. They can claim success and "greatest OS ever" all they want but it's clear to me that MS isn't thrilled.

He left, he wasn't booted.

Yeah, I bought one of your licenses Microsoft. I didn't want to buy it. Given the choice I would not have bought it. And quite clearly as evidenced in my past week of Twitter I've been trying to get rid of it. Alas, to no avail...

Considering Microsoft is not reading this, and you don't have a Twitter account in your profile, would you mind sharing with HN what your message means? Why did you buy Windows 8 if you didn't want it, and why can't you get rid of it?

I bought an emergency computer at Best Buy pre-installed with Windows 8. No matter what I've tried I can not get the thing to start not in Windows. I can't even drop down to the legacy BIOS to get Linux to boot.

Oh yeah, I also failed the recapcha several times before I could even get into the computer in the first place. A recapcha when you're first starting... brilliant. Btw, I'm not an MS hater but I am a Windows 8 hater.

I had to help a friend out of this predicament a while ago.. what I ended up doing was taking my smartphone into the store (an Office Depot) and searching the models of the computers they had for sale to see what has Windows 7 drivers available. Found one (A Lenovo, couldn't tell you what kind), had to muck around because it would only boot from USB but not cdrom (???), but finally got into the 7 installer and cleared all eight partitions and installed windows 7.

Eight Goddamned partitions. What the hell.

What you describe is a feature of Windows 8, it's to ensure that a trusted source controls what runs on the hardware. Windows 8 is, as you've discovered, far more security conscious.

> it's to ensure that a trusted source controls what runs on the hardware.

Trusted by whom?

My best guess would be he's referring to an OEM license that came with a PC he bought.

If Microsoft wanted to impart real knowledge in pronouncements such as this they would have clarity in what they say. By not giving a definition of what they mean by "licenses sold" they are avoiding clarity. It's an example of why many people, including myself, have lost confidence in everything they say.

Licenses sold is pretty clear. What else would you like them to say? This is the figure they've always given. It would seem odd to me if they created some new metric that we couldn't compare with Win7 and Vista sales.

What else would you like them to say?

How many licenses are sitting with OEMs? If retails sales are below expectations the channel may have over purchased and items are sitting on the shelf.

How many sales are through enterprise agreements? These sales may be a bundle of licenses for different products. It is not unusual industry practice to throw in, for next to nothing, products that for strategic reasons, need to have sales numbers inflated. Or the enterprises may have purchased the license because they are contractually obligated to buy the latest desktop OS version.

It would seem odd to me if they created some new metric that we couldn't compare with Win7 and Vista sales.

Since what they mean has never been defined there is no metric. They could quite easily have changed what's being measured and no one would be the wiser.

Since the vast majority of these licenses are sold to OEMs to build systems it doesn't reflect anything much. The number sold to actual customers would be a lot more useful.

What do you mean? Are you talking about the amount sold directly to consumers or the amount that get into consumers hands?

The former is uninteresting. The latter would be great, but MS doesn't know this info (and they've never reported it).

And the channel I suspect is pretty efficient when it comes to license acquisition, since you don't need to do runs like you do in HW.

I wonder how many they actually sold. Many are simply bought with new computers, and quite a few are probably the free upgrades that hardware vendors were promising for new Windows 7 computers just before the release.

What's very important is to know how well the store is doing. The windows store is the reason they are selling at a lower price than in the past, expecting a continuous stream of revenue through it.

Any news on enterprise adoption of Windows 8? I assume that this will be like Vista -- many large companies won't bother upgrading. That will be a huge drag on Windows 8 adoption.

I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft is actually already kind of banking on this. When better to venture towards mobile, than on the cycle that enterprise is less likely to pick up?

Enterprise here who integrates with other enterprises. We have one windows 8 seat across 15350 unique endpoints and that was our test surface machine.

That's all? Their OEM manufacturers alone would account to about that much.

I wonder how many Windows 7 licences were sold in the same period

"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."

By same period I meant since October 26 i.e. since the launch of Windows 8

The Verge reported 60million in a bit more than 2 months and 90 million in 4 months.

Win8 seems to be doing in the ballpark (if not better) than Win7 in sales.

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