Windows 10 is Active on 825 Million Devices

Posted on May 10, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 49 Comments

According to internal documentation viewed by Thurrott.com, Windows 10 is now active on over 825 million devices worldwide. It’s unclear why Microsoft did not divulge this figure at Build. But as part of a recent reorganization, we also have a better understanding now about how the firm will evolve Windows moving forward.

First, there’s been a leadership hole at Windows since Terry Myerson left in 2018. So, Microsoft has promoted Eran Megiddo to corporate vice president of Windows and Education. He will focus on Windows client direction and strategy and will report to Joe Belfiore, who leads Microsoft’s Essential Products (“EPIC” internally) team. EPIC is part of the Microsoft 365 organization and is responsible for Windows 10 apps, Microsoft Edge, OneNote, and Android and iOS mobile experiences (Microsoft Launcher, Microsoft Edge, OneNote, Microsoft To-Do, Microsoft News, and more).

(EPIC also oversees Microsoft’s education efforts and its partnerships with third-party developers who create Windows and Microsoft 365 apps.)

Given his position below Belfiore, it’s not clear how he is a Myerson replacement. Certainly, he will have no place on Microsoft’s senior leadership team (SLT), but will instead be part of a Windows leadership team (WLT). This is more about “product leadership” than about actual corporate leadership, I guess.

Eran and the Windows team have three goals for the near future: Create clarity around Microsoft’s strategy for Windows, better manage cross-devices experiences between Windows and mobile, and continue pushing Windows in education. There are a variety of new job assignments and roles related to this, but I’m only concerned about the actual product.

Finally, there are also some interesting stats about EPIC’s successes so far. The unit’s Windows 10 mobile apps have been downloaded 32 million times. The mobile versions of Microsoft Edge have been downloaded 4.5 million times. The Microsoft Launcher has over 4 million monthly active users. SwiftKey has over 159 million active users. And Microsoft is working on a Microsoft Family mobile app, though it’s not clear what it does.

I’ll try to find out more about these changes, at least related to Windows and the other products.

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Comments (49)

49 responses to “Windows 10 is Active on 825 Million Devices”

  1. Tourniquet

    What about Rajesh Jha? I kinda thought he was overseeing the overall Windows strategy now?

  2. Pierre Masse

    In the end, nobody really know who's in charge, which explains a lot.

  3. longhorn

    Microsoft used to label it "Monthly Active Users", which is basically the same as "Monthly Active Devices", although some Windows 10 users may have more than one Windows 10 device.


    • hrlngrv

      In reply to longhorn:

      Monthly active devices raises the possibility of VMs. If each VM counts as a distinct device, my home PC counts as 2 Windows 10 devices, a Windows 8.1 device, a Windows 7 device and even a Windows XP device. Not to mention a few Linux boxes.

  4. red.radar

    I moved to Linux. Experimenting with interacting via web versions of Microsoft apps. It’s not too bad from a consumer perspective. i spend so much time on a device that I use a non windows interface to Microsoft more than windows 10. I figure I give Linux a try.


    all that to say ... I think Nadella is correct to de-emphasize windows

    • kevin rose

      In reply to red.radar:

      We've moved to chromebooks at work. Remarkably short learning curve. Have to use Win 10 for some legacy apps, but increasingly we use cloud based apps for our work. I think that is the inevitable end game.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to GrumpyOldGit:

        FWLIW, I've used my Chromebook to access work software via Citrix for years. With the exception of @Risk's network authentication, everything else I do for work I can do with a Chromebook. The economics of recentralizing workplace computing are too compelling and networking becoming too ubiquitous for stand-alone computing to continue for decades.

        • Tony Barrett

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          I can only imagine moving to Chromebooks much be a huge cost saving too. Most enterprises will be paying eye watering amounts to MS annually for software assurance.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to ghostrider:

            I'm sure MSFT will do whatever it legally can with licensing agreements to delay the rise of thin clients, but they're coming eventually, just as earthquakes will flatten San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle tech centers eventually, just as sea level rise due to climate change will make Houston into Atlantis. We just may not live to see it.

  5. curtisspendlove

    I’m glad their mobile apps are doing well, but other than the 825 million Windows 10 devices (which is still a huge number) I’m not seeing a lot of good numbers here for the actual Windows platform. :(


    Also, I’d really like to hear “renewed push of Windows for consumers” as part of the strategy. Or have they finally given up on windows being a valid consumer market segment going forward?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to curtisspendlove:

      “renewed push of Windows for consumers”

      More Windows licenses sold? More upgrades from previous Windows versions still in use?

      Tangent: do Xboxes count as having Windows licenses?

      I have to believe we've reached peak PC, and if the average lifetime of a consumer PC is 5 years, we'll reach exponential decay in older Windows versions next year. Which leaves non-PC devices as the only path for significant growth.

      Note: peak PC doesn't mean peak device. It may mean Windows has little to no relevance outside PCs.


      • Tony Barrett

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        In answer to your question, to inflate numbers, yes, ANY device running a Windows 10 kernel of some sort is a Windows 10 'device', and counted as such - PC, Xbox, Mobile, tablet, Surface, IoT. MS do not differentiate.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to ghostrider:

          Where would Windows license count growth come from? Not from PCs if Peak PC has already happened. Not from Xbox, Surface Hub and HoloLens, which combined will never exceed 1/1000 the number of Windows PCs in use. That leaves IoT, and Windows isn't small and light.

          I could see application software increasing the usage of existing Windows PCs, but I can't see the number of PCs growing appreciably. Where would more Windows consumer customers come from? Getting back into phone? Windows for Cybernetic Implants?

  6. Tony Barrett

    The point here is, if Win7 wasn't going end of life, and MS hadn't run the GWX campaign as deviously as they did, what would those numbers be now? There's a lot of reluctance to move to Windows 10 - I see it every day, but people are realising now they don't have a choice if they want to stay with Windows. These numbers are nothing to be proud of because they've been attained in a very underhand manner, and I'd expect that number to be halved at least otherwise.

    • dontbe evil

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Has ALWAYS BEEN for every new version of windows

      • Tony Barrett

        In reply to dontbe_evil:

        I'm not going to deny that moving between Windows versions has always been a trial - MS like to change things too much. Enterprises especially are very slow to move, and if they don't need to, they won't. Everything comes to an end, and Win7's time is nigh - I realise that - but why make Windows so polarizing now? Why do MS insist on servicing a desktop OS like it is? Why the continous showstopping bugs, painful updates, telemetry collection, bloatware and ads? We've all paid our Windows tax many times over, yet we still have to be subjected to these almost continuous intrusions. I say again, if MS had just left Win10 to it's devices and not forced it onto users the way they did, those numbers would be considerably less.

  7. rajengg

    Nice post.. I use Windows 10. It makes easy to have everything I need on one screen .Microsoft is one of the top company in World.This will be the year of chrome OS. 

  8. rm

    This was interesting, Joe's group has been doing some good things! They need to keep it up, more Android/Windows integration and more dark theme and flaunt design support.

  9. hrlngrv

    I can think of one reason MSFT didn't mention it at Build: anyone and maybe everyone mentioning that MSFT failed to meet their touted 1 billion Windows 10 devices by the end of July last year, and having a benchmark for just how far behind MSFT is 9+ months later. IOW, this may be more a source of embarrassment than pride to MSFT's senior management.

  10. Bats

    Belfiore? Everything Belfiore touches......well, lets say it doesn't end so very well.....like Windows Phone.


    4/4.5 million active users for Microsoft Launcher is a success? Who is using the Microsoft Launcher? Former Windows Phone users? Sounds like it, because with 2 billion active Android users, 4 million is only 0.2%. That smells like Windows Phone users to me.


    As for 825 million Windows 10 users.....still not a billion? Plus, I thought Microsoft claimed to have 900 million?

    • kidakidb

      In reply to Bats:

      It's a shame, because I find that Belfiore was so passionate about Windows Phone and I always enjoyed watching him on stage.


      I use the MS Launcher on my S10+ and really enjoy it, but it really has nothing to do with Windows Phone in any way at all.

    • warren

      In reply to Bats:


      I'm a former Windows Phone user who is using Microsoft Launcher, but I don't feel like the experience of Launcher has any connection to the old Windows Phone UI philosophy or feel.


      As to why there's only 4 million users.... Microsoft Launcher is probably the 2nd or 3rd largest launcher going nowadays, along with Nova and Apex. Neither of those launchers have significantly more users, either..... it's just not a huge or even widely-known market. None of the device manufacturers are going to advertise this capability, either, because they want you to use their own launchers.

    • RonH

      In reply to Bats:

      I use MS Launcher. It makes it easy to ha e everything I need on one screen

  11. A_lurker

    It sounds like Windows is becoming the 'red headed' step child in MS. The major effort appears to Office and Azure with Windows getting the crumbs. This could be a long term disaster as cloudy applications and services are largely OS agnostic. So it is not critical what OS one uses. This leaves the door open for a strong push by someone like Google or IBM to promote the OSes they have. If the price is right, people might buy.


    Windows, Mac, and Linux are not just OSes but ecosystems that only partially overlap. The Windows ecosystem is the largest by far but the others often have competitive options that are suitable for most. But all can use a web browser (Chrome/Chromium runs on all) so there is almost 100% overlap with cloudy applications and services, i.e. there is no value added by Windows over Mac or Linux.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to A_lurker:

      The Windows ecosystem is the largest by far

      Maybe, but I suspect that's mostly due to legacy applications, Win32 software that's still usable but no longer maintained, not open source, and the rights holder uninterested in selling the rights to the source code. Call it abandonware, dinosaurware, whatever you want, but I figure at least 1/4 of Windows users use some form of it at least once a month.

      In terms of software titles in active development, I suspect there's a lot more overlap between Windows, Linux and macOS than for anything which hasn't been upgraded in the last few years. FWIW, most portable Windows software I've used works fine under wine.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to A_lurker:

      I've been saying this for a long time - many don't need Windows anymore. As more and more apps move to web based or PWA's, Windows role becomes less and less of a requirement. It's just familiarity or fear of change that prevent people looking elsewhere. This is one of the reasons Windows is no longer #1 in Microsoft. It's probably barely top 5.

    • curtisspendlove

      In reply to A_lurker:

      Don’t forget Chrome OS. ;) I know many people here scoff at it, but make no mistakes. It is on track to become the most consumer-friendly version of Linux in a traditional computing form factor.


      :: shrug ::


      Google may not be able to make it a success by themselves, but if Microsoft continues to abandon mainstream consumers, they are very likely to respond in kind.

      • dontbe evil

        In reply to curtisspendlove:

        This will be the year of linux or chrome os

      • minke

        In reply to curtisspendlove:

        Chrome OS is leading in the education area and all those kids will eventually be college graduates and then entering the workplace, and eventually they'll be running all these companies.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to Minke:

          Maybe when the 20-year-olds and younger of today are running companies in about 3 decades, they won't be using Windows. I figure the economics favor thin clients, but I also figure MS Office as it evolves to an online version much closer to current desktop functionality and feature-completeness than today's web Office will be cheaper to license for those using MSFT's thin client OS (maybe called Windows Lite, but I doubt it) than other thin client OSes.

          One thing I'm reasonably sure of is that Fortune 1000 companies aren't going to be moving from MS Office to Google Docs in the next decade no matter how many US and a few other countries' new job market entrants want to use Google Docs.

          In my experience, enterprises don't change for new hires. Rather the reverse.

  12. Dan1986ist

    Is the number of devices referring to the number of devices that Windows 10 is installed and used on or just the devices whether or not those devices are being used? As users can have Windows 10 devices that they aren't actively using. Also, would virtual machine instances count among the number of Windows 10 devices or just physical computers?

  13. dontbe evil

    soon paul will write


    "Microsoft confirm windows is not the future of windows"

    "As I predicted Microsoft is effectively killing windows"

    • PeteB

      In reply to dontbe_evil:

      Nadella's silence on Windows tells you everything. He has his head in the cloud literally and figuratively. Betting the entire company on Azure, which will eventually get beaten by other companies that leverage integration with their other verticals (mobile, search, AI, etc)

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to PeteB:

        I figure there are damn few possibilities for growth in Windows licenses sold, and the fiasco which Windows has been since Windows 8 (even compared to Vista's first ugly year) has proven there's not a lot of down-side, i.e., PC users aren't going to replace PCs with Macs nor shift from Windows to Linux en masse. Windows license revenues are a nice comfortable US$ multi-billion segment that also happen to be stagnant. Nadella isn't going to complain, but he's also not going to spend much time on it compared to product lines with prospects of revenue growth.

        Sensible management.

        With respect to Azure, MSFT's main competition is AWS. Maybe Google will one day come up with a competitor (though I figure that'd require a partnership with IBM or some other large B2B software vendor), but Apple won't. I really don't think smartphone OS/services providers have much of a path into enterprise IT just due to mobile.

  14. Chris_Kez

    I wonder how that MS Launcher number compares to other Android launchers (e.g. Nova Launcher, Action Launcher, Evie, etc.). I also wonder whether any companies are using MS Launcher as a default for smart phones they provide to employees.

  15. rednirussuppliers

    Really love your post and thanks for sharing this valuable and informative post with us. I would recommend to use window 10 for everyone because i personally use it in my laptop. Thanks from the team Rednirus Suppliers.

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