Last Thursday (March 29), word emerged from Terry Myerson, EVP for the Microsoft Windows and Devices Group. He announced he would be leaving the company in April. In a companion blog post on LinkedIn, Myerson’s farewell reveals interesting Windows 10 stats. He also shared some highlights from his 21-year tenure at Microsoft, including important bookends with Mr. Bill Gates himself. But to me, the stats he let slip are quite interesting.
How Myerson’s Farewell Reveals Interesting Win10 Stats
Here are some key snippets from Myerson’s farewell address that reveal interesting elements of the Windows 10 empire over which he presided (all are verbatim quotes):
- I was honored, and humbled to now be leading over 17,000 engineers and accountable for over $40B in revenue and $5B in operating income…
- … that’s why we created the Windows Insider Program so we could build Windows 10 led by your feedback. Now with 15 million members, …
- Today, we are now approaching 700 million active Windows 10 users, commercial usage is growing 84% year over year, Xbox One is running a Windows 10 core, Surface is leading PC innovation, HoloLens is bringing breakthroughs to computer vision, our universal Microsoft store enables Xbox GamePass, Azure reserved instances, and Office distribution, and the OEM ecosystem is revitalized with profitable growth. Last year, we finished the year with over $8B in operating income from our segment.
- I’m sitting down next to Bill Gates for my last scheduled meeting as leader of Windows and Devices at Microsoft. My team is debating with him the future of Project Rome and Windows Timeline.
What These Snippets Tell Us Is…
The size and scope of the Windows effort at Microsoft is huge, but no longer represents the overwhelming focus or revenue center for the company. In fact, as of the end of January (see this VentureBeat analysis) Azure hit a $20B annual run rate and is growing more than 3 times faster than Windows. Some long-time MS followers see Myerson’s departure as a sign that Windows has lost its status as Microsoft’s primary focus, in fact. (See this fascinating blog post from Tim Sneath entitled “From Windows to the Cloud.”)
Beyond financials, the interesting numbers in the preceding quotes deal with the size of two important Windows populations. For the first time, an official MS source tells us that the count of Win10 users is “approaching 700 million.” I don’t have to go out on much of a limb to hypothesize that the count will meet and exceed that level this year, possibly sometime soon. It’s also fascinating to understand that the Windows Insider program includes 15 M participants. As beta programs go, this is mind-bogglingly enormous.
The mention of Project Rome is also quite tantalizing. There’s more that one way to read this, though. Based on reading between the lines in Sneath’s afore-cited blog post, it’s possible that the future of the project may itself be in jeopardy. However, I think not. I actually think MS is hard at work figuring out how to create consistent development and runtime environments for a broad range of devices. That means computers, tablets, embedded and IoT devices, and even servers. I read Myerson’s concluding remarks as intended to hint at a continuing and brighter future for Windows going forward.