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Windows 10 in Use on Over 200 Million Devices

On Monday, January 4, Yusuf Mehdi posted that “Windows 10 [is] Now Active on over 200 Million Devices” to the Windows Experience blog. This not only ups the official count for Windows 10 installations, it also changes the basis upon which Microsoft publishes such counts. The last official count that MS announced was 110 million, and it occurred on October 6, at the Windows 10 Devices Event. But this count was based on the number of copies of the OS that had been downloaded by that date, and included technical previews downloaded through the Windows Insider program, as well as upgrades to Windows 7 and 8.1, as well as new licenses issued via OEM, enterprise (volume licensing), and retail sales.

win10count200M

Here’s the headline from the “new count” post to the Windows Experience Blog on 1/4.

Now the basis for counting is somewhat different. The latest count is based on “active users,” which means it counts only unique instances of Windows 10 encountered as running and in use via MS telemetry. This is indeed a much more accurate and rational basis for counting, because it’s based on running instances of the OS rather than a count of downloads of that same OS (which may or may not actually be running anywhere, and may instead be sitting on a drive somewhere not yet installed or in use).

In the same blog post, Mehdi also shared some other interesting usage and uptake statistics about Windows 10, including the following items (summarized from that content, see original for his precise wording):

  • More than 40% of new Windows 10 devices have become active since Black Friday (11/27/2015).
  • According to MS, Win10 is “on the fastest growth trajectory of Windows … ever” and is at 140% of Windows 7 and 400% of Windows 8 at the same point in time (3 months) after RTM.
  • Customers are showing an increasing preference for Win10 on the PCs they’re buying.
  • Enterprise and education customers are also starting to get involved with Win10, with 22 million devices running Win10 among enterprise and education customers, and 76% of enterprises now actively piloting Win10 deployments.

According to other sources (Neowin) this latest number also includes some 30 million Xbox One consoles, now also running Windows 10 since a major update in late November 2015. I wish the company had provided more information to understand the faster uptake claims for Windows 10 vis-à-vis Windows 7 and 8 as well. Other sources (PCWorld) have recently reported that Windows 10 uptake has fallen behind that for Windows 7 at about five months past RTM, based on reported usage statistics from NetApplications. However, given the new basis for Microsoft’s counts on telemetry pick-ups, the company may very well have an effective counter to such numbers, though the inclusion of Xbox One consoles makes the whole thing somewhat tricky. This should be an interesting development to follow throughout 2016 — especially in light of Mark Twain’s famous epigram (“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics”).

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Why is it important on how many devices Windows 10 is running on? Because Microsoft is trying to trick developers that this might be there target group to develop apps for. But since the first release of Windows 8 the big question remains who on earth ever needs Apps and an App Store on a x86/x64 desktop machine! (well, maybe besides the more restricted mac os devices…)
So, the much more interesting question would be on how many tablets Windows 10 is running right now…
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