Six Months On, Windows 8 Sales Are A Mystery

Tom Warren | The Verge | April 26, 2013

As PC sales plummet, Microsoft is vague about its risky bet

The Windows 8 operating system debuted on October 26th, six months ago today. Intended to save a flagging PC industry, Microsoft's latest software is designed specifically for touch-equipped hardware. While Apple continues to increase its iPad shipments year-on-year, Microsoft and its OEMs are fresh out the gate with an operating system that tries to marry a keyboard and mouse-driven UI to a modern touch-enabled interface. Microsoft provided some early signs of Windows 8's sales performance, but recently it has been rather quiet. How well is the big Windows 8 gamble paying off?

The first indication of Windows 8's growth came from Microsoft itself. The software maker announced 40 million license sales in late November, noting that Windows 8 was outpacing Windows 7 for upgrades at the time. Shortly afterwards, in January, 60 million license sales were announced, the same amount as Windows 7 at practically the same stage in its early lifecycle. However, at the current point in the Windows 8 rollout, Redmond has not yet disclosed the latest figures. Microsoft's Q3 earnings have come and gone, and Windows revenue was flat despite a reported downturn in PC sales. At the same time in Windows 7's history three years ago, Microsoft was declaring it "by far the fastest-selling operating system in history" with over 10 percent of all PCs running Windows 7. The company also announced 100 million license sales for Windows 7 on April 27th, 2010.