Build 2016: There Are Now 270 Million Active Windows 10 Devices

Posted on March 30, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0

Build 2016: There Are Now 270 Million Active Windows 10 Devices

During its Build 2016 keynote address this morning, Microsoft revealed that there are now over 270 million active Windows 10 devices worldwide. That’s a big leap over the figure the firm provided back in January.

“In the eight months since launch, Windows 10 is off to the fastest start in Windows history, with over 270 million active devices, outpacing Windows 7 in the same timeframe by 145 percent,” Microsoft’s Terry Myerson says. “People are spending more time on Windows than ever before—over 75 billion hours—with the highest customer satisfaction of any version of Windows.”

As you may recall, Mr. Myerson made the bold prediction/promise that the software giant would hit 1 billion active Windows 10 devices “within two or three years” of its initial release. And this is the third time that Microsoft has provided an updated usage figure for Windows 10 devices, a figure that includes PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox One consoles and presumably Surface Hub, HoloLens, and IoT devices too.

The first update was in August 2015, when Microsoft revealed that it had hit 75 million active devices in the first 30 days since Windows 10 was released.

Then, in January, Microsoft said that there were over 200 million active Windows 10 devices.

Now, the figure stands at 270 million.

“We are on track to reach our ambitious goal of one billion Windows 10 devices in the next few years,” Myerson said. “We welcome everyone to Windows 10, whether you have a new PC, a five-year-old PC, or a brand new Mac – we are building the most secure, productive, and fun platform for you.”

So let’s do a little math.

In the first month, Microsoft say 75 million Windows 10 devices come to life (virtually all PCs, at that time), a huge number commensurate for a major new release, and aided by the fact that it was (still is) a free upgrade.

By January, we saw the pace of Windows 10 deployments monthly sales “slow to” (really, “arrive at”) about 31.25 million devices per month. This was aided slightly be the New Xbox Experience release in November, which brought Windows 10 to the Xbox One, and by the release of Windows 10 Mobile-based Lumias.

Now Microsoft reports that 70 million new Windows 10 devices come on board in three months. That’s 23.3 million per month, and I think this time it’s actually fair to say that the adoption pace has slowed. But that also probably makes sense too: The big bang numbers will always be at the beginning of the product cycle.

You may also recall that Windows 7 routinely “sold” at a pace of exactly 20 million licenses every month for virtually its entire 3-year run. So the 23.3 million number is about the same, but represents real world Windows 10 installs/upgrades/purchases. (And includes some non-PC devices too.)

Let’s look at it another way. Apple sold 5.3 million Macs in its most recent quarter (no, not the exact same time period as the Windows 10 adoptions we’re looking at, but close enough). So Windows 10 in three months has “outsold” (out-adopted) all Macs combined by 13 times. (In market share terms, Mac is about 7.5 percent of Windows 10. Which is actually its real market share. So it sort of works.)

Factor in iPad sales—16.1 million, for a total of 21.2 million units—and Windows 10 has “outsold” Apple’s comparable devices by well over 3 to 1.

None of this is exact—not all those Windows 10 devices are PCs, just the vast majority of them—but that’s not too shabby either way.


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