Build 2015: Microsoft’s Goal of Over One Billon Windows 10 Devices

Posted on April 29, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Build 2015: Microsoft's Goal of Over One Billon Windows 10 Devices

At its Build 2015 conference this week in San Francisco, Microsoft announced an audacious goal to have over one billion Windows 10 devices in the world within two to three years. Whether it can achieve this goal is not certain, and given the wide variety of form factors that this system targets it’s certainly possible.

“We are going on record, this is the goal,” Microsoft executive vice president of operating systems Terry Myerson told me. “Our ambition is to see one billion Windows 10 devices within two to three years.”

While this isn’t a PR stunt, achieving this goal would certainly position Windows 10 nicely against the competition. The most widely deployed version of Android, Kit Kat, in on about 500 million devices, and Apple’s iOS 8 is on fewer devices than that. “No other ecosystem has this reach,” Myerson told me.

So how might Microsoft succeed here?

Windows 10 will of course ship on several hundred million new PCs, tablets, and phones during this time. At the current run rate, we’re looking at over 600 million of these devices over two years and 900 million over three.

Windows 10 will be given away for free for the first year. It’s impossible to know what the upgrade rate will be, but it’s hard to argue with free. And when you look at usage statistics, it’s not hard to determine that over 65 percent of Windows PCs in use are eligible for this upgrade (are running Windows 7 or newer). If Microsoft’s total usage base of 1.5 billion is correct, that’s almost one billion right there.

And let’s not forget the new form factors. Windows 10 will ship on or be available for a wide variety of devices, including embedded IoT devices (including Raspberry Pi), Xbox One, HoloLens, Surface Hub and more. Like many of you, I suspect, I still tend to think of Windows in terms of traditional PC form factors—PC, tablet, phone—but the ecosystem is much more diverse than that now.

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