Windows 10 is Now Active on 200 Million Devices Worldwide

Posted on January 4, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10, Windows Weekly with 0 Comments

Windows 10 is Now Active on 200 Million Devices Worldwide

Microsoft announced this morning that Windows 10 is now “active” on over 200 million devices worldwide. This figure presumably includes PCs, phones, Xbox Ones, and other devices, though Microsoft doesn’t explicitly state that.

UPDATE: Microsoft has now confirmed that the 200 million figure includes non-PC devices like Xbox One. –Paul

As you may recall, Microsoft chief marketing office Chris Capossela exclusively told Mary Jo Foley and me during a December 2015 live interview that we could expect a new milestone number for Windows 10 in early January.

This is only the second time that Microsoft has revealed Windows 10 usage figures. The first time was in late August, when the firm revealed that there were 75 million devices running the new OS. At that time, I compared the uptake rate to those of Windows 7 and Windows 8 and determined that the Windows 10 launch was easily the most successful in modern days.

“The real reason the Windows 10 figure is so astonishing is because of the upgrades,” I wrote. “Before this release, in-place upgrades were one of the most unreliable and scary things a user could attempt, and it was so bad very few Windows users ever did try it. With Windows 10, the vast majority of the initial 75 million users did in fact upgrade their PCs. And they did so successfully. That’s the 75 million … that is a triumph, no matter what you think of the math.”

But now it’s four months later. There are 125 million more Windows 10 devices “active” out there in the world, since that August announcement (which came at the one-month mark). So what’s different? Two things stand out.

This isn’t just PCs anymore. When Microsoft announced the 75 million milestone, Windows 10 was available only on PCs. So that number was all PC upgrades, with a handful of new PC purchases. Today, we have Windows 10 in Xbox One, in new Lumias, and in some IoT-type devices. So there is a wider field of device types from which to choose.

Windows 10 uptake is amazing. Despite the availability of Windows 10 on new device types, the average monthly usage gain over the past quarter was 31.25 million units per month. That is dramatically better than the standard-bearer, Windows 7, which was artificially massaged to accomplish 20 million units per month. You might claim that the uptake has slowed dramatically, since the first month was 75 million units, but come on. That was the first month. The first month should always be considered an anomaly. And if we factor in the entire period of time Windows 10 has been available, Microsoft has seen an average of 40 million active new Windows 10 devices come online each month so far. That’s double the rate of Windows 7, which is widely considered (except by me) to be the best-selling version of Windows ever.

In other words, this is nothing but great news.

And if you’re wondering about the 164 million figure I just wrote about in yesterday’s Thurrott Daily, that’s clear enough: The 36 million figure is non-PC devices like Xbox Ones, Windows phones, and IoT devices.

Microsoft’s take on this milestone is interesting as well. It claims:

Windows 10 adoption is accelerating. Microsoft says that over 40 percent of new Windows 10 devices became active since Black Friday. This tells me that the linear growth days of Windows 7 are long over. And that the coming year will not be one uninterrupted upward spike.

Windows 10 is on the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows. Proving my point above, Microsoft says that Windows 10 “[usage] growth” outpaces Windows 7 by nearly 140 percent and Windows 8 by nearly 400 percent. Of course, that last one is a low bar.

Highest engagement on Windows ever. This is the new Microsoft metric. People spent over 11 billion hours on Windows 10 in December alone, Microsoft says, “spending more time on Windows than ever before.”

Windows Store growth Here, Microsoft is desperate to hide the fact that the universal app story is Windows 10’s Achilles Heel. The “new” Windows Store has seen a “2x increase in the number of paid transactions from PC and tablet customers this holiday season,” Microsoft says. 60 percent of paying customers in December were new to the Store.

Momentum. Microsoft says it sees “accelerating and unprecedented demand for Windows 10 among enterprise and education customers.” Over 76 percent of Microsoft’s enterprise customers are in active pilots of Windows 10. And there are now over 22 million devices running Windows 10 across enterprise and education customers.

OK, some of the Microsoft claims are … nebulous. But again, this is great news overall. And there’s no way to claim otherwise.