Windows 10 is Now on 400 Million Devices

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 95 Comments

Windows 10 is Now on 400 Million Devices

It’s been three long months since Microsoft announced a new figure for Windows 10 usage. But the firm today said that there now over 400 million active Windows 10 devices around the world. So Windows 10 adoption has slowed dramatically since the free upgrade offer ended.

This is as expected. But I think the new number provides an interesting peek at the uptick rate we can expected going forward.

So let’s review the math.

Microsoft last provided a Windows 10 usage milestone on June 29, when it said that there were 350 million active Windows 10 devices. At that time, I noted that the Windows 10 adoption had accelerated from the previous milestone, hitting an average of almost 29 million new devices per month.

But 50 million additional devices over three months is a much slower pace of about 17 million per month. This is the slowest rate since Windows 10 was first announced.

Again, no surprise there: Windows 10 was free for its first year, and over that time period it averaged roughly 31.25 million new devices per month (if you assume a figure of 375 million after one year, as I do).

Does this mean that Windows 10 will see fewer than 20 million new devices each month, on average, going forward? No, of course not. There’s no way to accurately gauge how things will go, given that most future devices will be new PCs purchased by businesses or consumers, or business PCs upgraded to Windows 10. Those systems will be added to the list according to seasonal variances and business deployment schedules.

That said, I’ve often discussed how Microsoft artificially reported Windows 7 license sales during that product’s lifetime, evening out the numbers so that it appeared that 20 million new licenses were sold each month. So while Microsoft no longer uses that kind of accounting, it’s still an interesting number for comparison.

So it’s less, sure. But 17 million new Windows 10 devices per month is a real world number, whereas licenses sold is more nebulous: Many of those licenses were never actually used, or were used to install other versions of Windows. (Some today are likely running Windows 10, too.) So while 17 million is technically less than 20, it’s not really less. This is a solid number.

If that 17 million number holds steady—which, it won’t month to month, though I wonder about long-term—how long will it take Windows 10 to hit the one billion milestone?

35 and a half months, or about three years.

That means that Windows 10 will hit the 1 billion milestone in roughly four years, which is about 25 percent longer than the 2-3 years that Microsoft originally expected. And to be clear, Microsoft does still expect to hit the 1 billion number: I was told last night that they had simply “shifted the time frame a bit.”

My expectation is that Windows 10 adoption will actually accelerate to about 20 million per month on average, as more and more businesses come online with the new system. But even at 17 million, Microsoft is in a good place.

Disclaimer. If you’re really paying attention to the math, you will have noticed that I expected to see 375 million active Windows 10 devices by the end of July 29; that would mean that about 25 million new devices came online in July alone. If true, the average for August and September is thus only 12.5 million per month. I’ll just say that this is a guessing game, and that the truth is in there somewhere. And heck, what’s a few million between friends?

 

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63 Comments
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  1. Paul Thurrott
    8 | Reply
    Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 2 months ago

    First. :)

    1. Brad Sams
      9 | Reply
      Brad Sams Alpha Member #2 - 2 months ago

      Is the worst.

    2. 0 | Reply
      bbold Alpha Member #669 - 2 months ago

      Brad, I notice the comment number isn't updating correctly on the homepage (at least on my end.) For example, it shows 0 comments on everything, but when you click on the article it shows everything below it like it should. Good job, though, guys! Looks good. Can't wait for the new podcast/s. Best of luck!

    3. 0 | Reply
      fishnet37222 Alpha Member #1718 - 2 months ago

      I also noticed that the sorting buttons don't seem to work.

    4. Paul Thurrott
      0 | Reply
      Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 2 months ago

      Thanks ... Tim is on this now.

    5. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago

      Where can we send bug checks relating to the comment system to?

    6. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago

      I found 2 bugs, plus 1 security problem so far.

    7. 0 | Reply
      Tim Alpha Member #20 - 2 months ago

      I found 2 bugs, plus 1 security problem so far.

      You can send bugs directly to me at [email protected]

    8. 0 | Reply
      anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago

      Brad, are you going to continue with the Sams Report? Is Paul still planning on doing What the Tech and Windows Weekly as well as the podcasts?

    9. Brad Sams
      1 | Reply
      Brad Sams Alpha Member #2 - 2 months ago

      The Sams report will continue on like always, nothing will change with it.

    10. 0 | Reply
      cseafous Alpha Member #610 - 2 months ago

      You just made me want to start a blog just so I can reply "first" to my own post!

  2. 4 | Reply
    FullyLoaded Alpha Member #1477 - 2 months ago

    I know they aren't anywhere near their original goal but 400 million ain't too shabby.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Jryoung86 Alpha Member #285 - 2 months ago

      It doesn't seem to be translating into any App growth for the platform. I am starting to wonder if its not the toal number of Windows 10 users but the device which they are using such as phone vs. PC. I understand that Windows Phone wasn't ever gong to have the usage numbers of IOS or Android but I can't help but wonder if Microsoft had not given up on Windows Phone before the UWP platform was even ready then we might be seeing more apps come to the Windows 10 platform.   

    2. 0 | Reply
      anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago

      I feel MS massively midjudged how difficult it was going to be to coax traditional desk top users into the store and store apps. Those users who are the massive majority of users will stay with their traditional desk top programmes. This is why developers in general aren't interested in UWP. MS has a battle on their hands and good luck getting these users talking to their pc.

  3. 3 | Reply
    JWayneG Alpha Member #425 - 2 months ago

     Just posting to see what my Alpha # is.... :)

    1. 0 | Reply
      lwetzel Alpha Member #113 - 2 months ago

      Not a bad idea JWayneG Alpha Menber #421.  So now I get to see mine.  Thanks!

    2. 0 | Reply
      Stoffel Alpha Member #679 - 2 months ago

      In that case, let's figure out what mine is :)

  4. 1 | Reply
    Bart Alpha Member #117 - 2 months ago

    I am waiting to write comment no 112, just like my Alpha Member number. Oh wait..... ;)

    1. 1 | Reply
      bbold Alpha Member #669 - 2 months ago

      Me too, Bart. Oh wait... I thought my Alpha number was smaller, i feel like less of a man now, jk lol

  5. 1 | Reply
    Wolfbyte Alpha Member #2466 - 2 months ago

    New comment system looks awesome guys!

  6. 1 | Reply
    burog25c Alpha Member #2145 - 2 months ago

    Hmmm... I could use a measly 400 million customers. :-)

    1. 0 | Reply
      Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago

      That have paid you nothing?

  7. 1 | Reply
    wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago

    A little but on/off topic but someone stole my wife's Samsung Note 5 yesterday...the only spare phone I had was a 950xl I was given (my work is on Verizon and I couldn't use it). She LOVES it...so much she wants to sell her Moto 360 and get a Band 2, even if the future is uncertain...if Fitbit had notifications with Windows 10 Mobile, she would go that route. 

    1. 0 | Reply
      dbp Alpha Member #213 - 2 months ago

      For all the complaints a lot of people, including Paul, have about the 950 XL, it's really a very good phone. I like mine an awful lot, and the fact that it's dual-SIM is more important to me than any apps I may currently be missing out on. Maybe I'll find something that's really painful to be missing out on, but for now I'm very satisfied.

    2. 0 | Reply
      anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago

      dbp, you said you may be missing out on apps. That's the point, using WMobile is a compromise in one way or another. 

    3. 0 | Reply
      wolters Alpha Member #390 - 2 months ago

      As nice as the 950xl is, I felt a little bad for putting her into it but that is all we had. Didn't want to do a NEXT plan nor could we pay out of pocket for a phone. But after I loaded Facebook FB Messenger, GroupMe, Instagram, Wunderlist, Audible, Client for Google Photos, GMusic, Groove, OneDrive...she was simply OK with it all and loves the performance and look of the phone. 

  8. 0 | Reply
    doncampbell Alpha Member #1136 - 2 months ago

    only because everyone else is... Alpha! :D

  9. 0 | Reply
    rbwatson0 Alpha Member #1592 - 2 months ago

    just wanted to know what my menmber # was.

  10. 0 | Reply
    rtodd_us Alpha Member #1012 - 2 months ago

    One has to wonder what these numbers would have been without the forced get Windows 10 campaign.  Would it be more or less.  I feel less, because it gave the FUD some crediblity.

  11. 0 | Reply
    phil Alpha Member #1546 - 2 months ago

    Last?

  12. 0 | Reply
    ommoran Alpha Member #208 - 2 months ago

    Clearly, their numbers are wrong.  400,000,002 as of yesterday.  Thanks to the "you actually still can upgrade to Windows 10..." advice that Paul has given in various arenas, I upgraded my girlfriend's two HP laptops yesterday (also removing an incredible amount of cruft).

     

    As to the new comments... I like them, and sure hope the twerps who snipe at each other didn't become premium members... of course if they could afford THAT, they'd probably also be able to afford moving out of their mom's basements... :)

  13. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 2 months ago

    Seems to me that a billion users in 4 years is not too bad.  Anyone have data on how long other tech has taken to get to this number?  Past Windows versions, smartphones sales etc etc.

    P.S. love the new comment engine.

  14. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 2 months ago

    What will 1 Billion installs mean to Windows? In 4 years, I expect the initial installers to have moved on to new computers so there wouldn't be 1 Billion current users.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Narg Alpha Member #420 - 2 months ago

      Numbers like this are easy today for most companies.  They usually report the current active license checks done in the last 30 days.  So it's probably pretty accurate.

  15. 0 | Reply
    ne0kn1ght Alpha Member #418 - 2 months ago

    Nice jobon the new comment systems. The Premium articles have been great.

  16. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago

    "Does this mean that Windows 10 will see fewer than 20 million new devices each month, on average, going forward? No, of course not. There’s no way to accurately gauge how things will go, given that most future devices will be new PCs purchased by businesses or consumers, or business PCs upgraded to Windows 10."

     

    I don't think you can accurately say this.  Last quarter only saw 62.4 million new PC's, and they're still in decline.  They're already at less than 20 million per month when you consider that 7.1% of IDC's worldwide quarterly totals are Mac's.

    https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS41584116

     

  17. 0 | Reply
    adityanag Alpha Member #830 - 2 months ago

    Commenting just to try out the new system!

     

  18. 0 | Reply
    Dmidnight Alpha Member #1860 - 2 months ago

    Dang, my number is quite high.

  19. 0 | Reply
    ebhanson Alpha Member #367 - 2 months ago

    Interesting how Microsoft drawing the line at 1 billion Windows 10 users in 2 - 3 years created a situation where missing their prediction lessened positive Windows 10 news. 400 million Windows 10 users is impressive, especially for app developers, but unfortunately the message comes with an asterisk that user adoption is slower than predicted. How do app developers interpret this news? Imagine if Microsoft didn’t forecast a time constraint prediction; they’d be much more in control of their Windows 10 adoption message. App developers should see 400 million users as a positive to build UWP apps. Hopefully Microsoft learned a marketing lesson here.
    Graduations on the new site. I’m looking forward to all the new changes coming.

  20. 0 | Reply
    itmaster68 Alpha Member #282 - 2 months ago

    nice layout guys.. looks much nicer..

  21. 0 | Reply
    jglathe Alpha Member #620 - 2 months ago

    On the comments system: Looks good. But, thread order doesn't seem to work as expected (my frst post wa a reply, but got listed as a reply to the last post that was there (at all, in the forum) at the time). Also votes to one's own post shoudn't be allowed. :)

    1. 0 | Reply
      jglathe Alpha Member #620 - 2 months ago

      Update: Page refresh is sorting the reply correctly in thread-order.

  22. 0 | Reply
    Matt Lohr Alpha Member #698 - 2 months ago

    Checking my number.

  23. 0 | Reply
    RonH Alpha Member #149 - 2 months ago

    Aren't people supposed to be round?  ;)

  24. 0 | Reply
    dcpaint Alpha Member #650 - 2 months ago

    Not a bad, but the uptick should hit another spike over the next year or 2 as several large businesses start to upgrade and replace equipment. Every big organization I go into these days, I notice still has Windows 7 runnning the client computers. Even the origanization I'm affilated with, large government is still just testing Windows 10 with a look to start deployment in 2017.

  25. 0 | Reply
    ssully Alpha Member #268 - 2 months ago

    Looking good :)

  26. 0 | Reply
    anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago

    Damn, I've got alpha number envy. I think that's a thing :)

  27. 0 | Reply
    anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago

    Team, the size of theprint when typing out a comment is tiny. Any chance of making it bigger for us old guys. :)

  28. 0 | Reply
    anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago

    The problem with trying to predict the future growth of W10 is that it assumes no competitor will enter the market. Next month Google are announcing Project Andromena and if the rumors are correct then there may be genuine opposition for W10 on the desk top.

  29. 0 | Reply
    GeekWithKids Alpha Member #569 - 2 months ago

    Not really anything to say on the post.

     

    Just wanted to try the new comments

     

  30. 0 | Reply
    ThomasMNS Alpha Member #518 - 2 months ago

    Fancy!

  31. 0 | Reply
    SeattleMike Alpha Member #105 - 2 months ago

    Second! ;-)

  32. 0 | Reply
    Simard57 Alpha Member #631 - 2 months ago

    what is the "p" link in the comment entry box ?

    it seems to select all the text in the text box - but "p"?

     

    1. 1 | Reply
      Tim Alpha Member #20 - 2 months ago

      That is just indicating that you are in a "paragraph".  You'll notice if you push the  in the toolbar it "p >> em" indicating that you are using the HTML tag "em" or Italics.  It's just to help you see what your text formatting is.  You can learn more here: https://www.tinymce.com/

  33. 0 | Reply
    RedSign Alpha Member #143 - 2 months ago

     Third?

  34. 0 | Reply
    Shmuelie Alpha Member #119 - 2 months ago

    ALPHA! (I'm done)

    1. Paul Thurrott
      0 | Reply
      Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 2 months ago

      :D

    2. 0 | Reply
      anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 2 months ago

      When do you show us our secret hand shake :)

  35. 0 | Reply
    dallasnorth40 Alpha Member #437 - 2 months ago

    400 million is a great number. Now, let's get going with those UWP apps!

    1. 0 | Reply
      jglathe Alpha Member #620 - 2 months ago

      No way, it's already dead in the water. Time to polish up the win32 API again...

  36. 0 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 2 months ago

    Has anybody done the math on how many newly-shipped computers are contributing to usage numbers?

  37. 0 | Reply
    lecter Alpha Member #201 - 2 months ago

    I do wonder how PC sales will fare going forward...20 million/month in the future is assuming they don't flatline, which with Android apps on ChromeOS is something that might just happen. The bank that I work for is only developing web apps going forward, some of which already have Android apps...and this a heavily conservative bank, I imagine smaller businesses are taking a long hard look as to why they actually need Windows except for Excel...Brad had an excellent writeup on Excel, it truly is the one Windows app that is unmatched in power and complexity by competitors.

  38. 0 | Reply
    javajunkee Alpha Member #1730 - 2 months ago

    10th (?) ;-D