Despite all the Windows 8 hate and doomsday predictions, Windows 8, as it turns out, is doing very well. Tami Reller, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Office of Microsoft, has revealed Windows 8 has sold 40 million copies since it was released on October 26, 2012. In other words, 40 million Windows 8 copies have been sold in one month.
Tami did not clarify how many of these sales were of Windows RT and how many are of Windows 8/Pro.
Of course simply saying “Windows 8 has sold 40 million copies” means nothing because we have no way of telling if 40 million copies is a good or bad number. So let’s compare Windows 8 sales figures to what Windows 7 sold when it debuted in 2009. After all, Windows 7 was hailed as a success by (almost) every niche and corner of the mainstream tech industry; if Windows 8 can meet or match it, logic tells us Windows 8 isn’t doing too badly.
Official Microsoft figures for Windows 7 say 60 million Windows 7 copies were sold in the first ten weeks. An estimate by the Wall Street Journal put Windows 7 sales in the first month at 40 million. So, essentially, Windows 8 is selling just as well as Windows 7, an operating system most people call a success. In fact, Microsoft says Windows 8 upgrades are faster than Windows 7 updates in 2009.
If you consider how Windows 7 was the recipient of pent-up demand due to the failure of Windows Vista, the fact that Windows 8 is selling similarly well is high praise for Microsoft’s latest baby.
Where are the critics now? BOOM, headshot.
Okay, all sarcasm aside, the sales data for Windows 8 isn’t as rosy as it may seem:
- First of all, as I just mentioned, people are upgrading to Windows 8 faster than people upgraded to Windows 7 in 2009. Since Windows 8 and Windows 7 are selling at a similar overall pace, the flip side of the people-are-upgrading-to-Windows-8-faster coin is less people are purchasing new Windows 8 machines (tablets and PCs) than the amount of people that purchased new Windows 7 PCs.
- Secondly, Microsoft has a limited-time promotion running allowing people to upgrade to Windows 8 for $15 if you recently purchased a Windows 7 PC and $39.99 for everyone else. Windows upgrades, including Windows 7, are typically a lot more expensive than that. Combine this with the fact that the promotion is time-limited, then Microsoft may be inducing artificial demand for Windows 8. In fact, it is almost a given that Microsoft is inducing demand for Windows 8. As ArsTechnica points out, many people may simply be purchasing Windows 8 upgrades right now with the plan to use them later, since the upgrades are cheap(er) during this promotion. What we don’t know is how many of these people would still upgrade to Windows 8 if it was available for the normal $99+ upgrade price.
That said, despite the caveats, it is hard to call Windows 8 a “failure” when it is doing similarly well as its “successful” predecessor. Indeed, my friends, Windows 8 is not a failure… at least not yet. The question is: will this continue? Only time will tell.