Earlier today we learned via a tweet storm from Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s CVP for Marketing in the Windows and Devices group, that Windows 10 is now installed on over 75 million devices in its first month of availability.
That is an overall average of 2.5 million upgrades per day since its release on 29 July.
These numbers allow us to compare the progress of Windows 10 against its predecessors which is fine however, we must keep in mind that the last major Windows OS releases were all not free upgrades.
The only one that came close was Windows 8 when it was offered to new PC buyers at a price of $14.99.
Users who had Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 prior to that new PC offer still got a good discounted price of $39 to purchase the Windows 8 upgrade. Even those deals did not help Windows 8 much in the long run.
Windows 8.1 was a free upgrade for users on Windows 8.1 but it was not a major release like Windows 10.
So with those caveats out there let’s compare the Windows 10 roll out to past major Windows releases.
Windows 95 – 40 million in first year (*)
Windows 98 – 530,000 boxed copies in first four days (retail) (*)
Windows ME – 200,000 boxed copies in first three days (US retail) (*)
Windows XP – 300,000 boxed copies in first three days (US retail) and 17 million in two months (*)
Windows Vista – 20 million in first month (*)
Windows 7 – 100 million in first six months; 450 million in less than two years (*)
Windows 8 – 60 million in just over two months and 100 million in first six months (*)
Windows 10 – 14 million upgrades in first 24 hours and 75 million in first month (via Microsoft)
*Sales numbers from A brief History of Windows Sales Figures, 1985-Present published on 07 May 13 by Harry McCracken in the Technoligizer column at Time.com
The only recent and totally free upgrade to Windows, Windows 8.1, was released in October 2013 – one year after the release of Windows 8.
While momentum numbers are difficult to track down for Windows 8.1, we can look at some market share numbers based on stats from NetMarketShare in June of 2014 and get an idea of how slow the uptake of Windows 8.1 occurred. According to those stats, May 2014 was the first month that Windows 8.1 (6.35%) over took Windows 8 (6.29%) global market share. The decline of Windows 8 has continued since then and as of today it has dropped below 2.8% and Windows 8.1 is up to 13.09%.
Suffice it to say that taking seven months to see a free upgrade surpass its predecessor’s share of desktops was not quick adoption. Windows 8.1 upgrade numbers are hard to find because they were not anything to proclaim to the world and so they weren’t.
I have asked Microsoft for any official numbers relating to the Windows 8.1 free upgrade and will update this article when I hear back from them.
Update: Microsoft referenced the same official quote from a spokesperson as they did on the momentum numbers when I asked for Windows 8.1 upgrade numbers:
“We are really pleased with the global reception to Windows 10 and excited to see 75 million devices running Windows 10. Currently there are more than 90,000 unique PC or tablet models that have upgraded to Windows 10. Even some devices manufactured in 2007 have upgraded to Windows 10. Additionally, Windows Store for Windows 10 has seen 6X more app downloads per device than Windows 8. Beyond that, we have nothing else to share.”
Windows 10 on the other hand, results in a 24-hour momentum update (14 million) and then a tweet storm about its achievements at the one-month mark (75 million). These stats were shared across official blogs and Twitter accounts with unabashed pride by Softies and tech enthusiasts everywhere.
Those numbers exceed the sales, yes granted they can be apples and oranges, of the last four major Windows releases (XP, Vista, 7 and 8) but is it a great indication that Microsoft is seeing solid uptake of their new operating system.
Now the big question will be can the momentum be sustained and help them reach their goal of having Windows 10 on one billion devices in the next 2-3 years.
The upcoming release of Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 on Xbox one consoles will give this progress a good boost as well.
No doubt it is something to keep an eye on.