In the opening keynote of its annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC)—being held this year in Los Angeles, California—Microsoft provided a series of updates about Windows 7 and related products and services while casting an eye to its Windows 8 future. The company reported that it has now sold more than 400 million licenses to Windows 7, an OS that continues to sell and sell almost two years after its release.
In October 2010, on the occasion of the OS' one-year anniversary, Microsoft noted that it had sold 240 million Windows 7 licenses—a run rate of 20 million copies a month. Given the 8-month period between then and now, one could surmise that Windows 7 is still selling at the same rate of 20 million copies per month. This means that Windows 7 sales haven't slowed a bit over 20 months.
Another way to look at this success is to compare Windows 7 with its closest competitors, and there are two: previous versions of Windows and Mac OS X. Comparing Windows 7 with Windows XP (the aging OS that Microsoft is still trying to convince slow-moving corporations to jettison), the software giant noted that Windows 7's sales trajectory has outpaced that of XP, and that customers now have just 1,000 days before XP support ends. And in just 20 months, users of Windows 7 have outpaced the entire Mac OS X user base—that's every single current Mac user, regardless of OS version—by 8 to 1. Mac OS X has been in the market for a decade.
Microsoft briefly mentioned Windows 8 but simply reiterated information it provided previously, including simply repeating a video demonstration from June. I've covered this information extensively on the SuperSite for Windows, so there's little need to rehash it here.
Moving on to partner-friendly Windows 7-based solutions, Microsoft announced the public beta of Windows Intune 2, which is adding software distribution and other new capabilities to the company's cloud-based PC management service. There's also an August update to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), which will see three of the suite's applications upgraded. Microsoft also announced changes to the way it compensates partners who help customers deploy specific Microsoft solutions.
Many of the company's new services, including the partner-supported ones, are cloud-based, and Microsoft noted that its transition from big, complicated on-premises servers to cloud-hosted services is going well. If anything, the quick transition to Intune 2, which will ship in final form this year, indicates that it's going more quickly than expected. And Microsoft recently released the well-received Office 365, which makes Google's competing service, Google Apps, look like a child's toy by comparison.
Other transitions aren't going so well. Windows Phone 7 has yet to take off in the market—"We've gone from very small ... to very small," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer darkly joked of Windows Phone's market share—but the addition of Nokia to the team should turn things around.
The WPC continues Tuesday with more keynotes and product announcements, so there should be more news from the show throughout the week.