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Windows 10 1B Milestone Recedes

I’ve been watching the Windows 10 growth curve for some time now. That’s kept me wondering if the company could make its self-assigned deadline of 1 B (one billion) Win10 devices before the close of fiscal year 2018 (FY18). Based purely on numbers reported to date, Windows 10 adoption rates must stay at 27-30 million new adoptions per month to hit that mark. Now, ZDNet Windows mavens Ed Bott and Mary Jo Foley indicate it ain’t gonna happen. While the mark may still be hit, timing for the Windows 10 1B milestone recedes into the future.

What Ed Bott/MJF Learned About the Windows 10 1B Milestone

In a recent blog post Bott observes that his thumbs-up assessment of Terry Myerson’s original projection factored in 50M Windows 10 handsets per year. (See ZDNet, “After One Year, 10 Lessons Learned for Windows 10,” 7/15/2016.) Upgrades to existing Windows 10 handsets encompassed 200M Windows-based phones in the 1B number. The rest of the 800M came from less mobile devices such as desktops, tablets, notebooks, and the like. But Windows Phone is now more or less out of the picture. Likewise, upgrades for existing phones range from problematic to impossible. Thus, that forcibly extends the timeframe to make up for now-missing elements.

As evidence, Bott cites a quote that Mary Jo Foley elicited from MS Senior VP Yusuf Mehdi. He says “…due to the focusing of our phone hardware business, it will take longer than FY18 for us to reach our goal of 1 billion monthly active devices.” If my calculations are correct, monthly addition of 23 million new “active users” dates the 1B milestone at December 2018. I don’t think that’s a realistic or sustainable rate. My guess is that monthly new adoptions could fall in the 15-17M range once the free upgrade expires. At those run rates, the milestone won’t come until mid to late 2019. I’d wondered if this was a realistic goal, and am glad to see MS not just recognize reality, but actually acknowledge the facts.