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Windows 8 hits 60 million 'sold'

Windows 8 hits 60 million ‘sold’

Sales of Windows 8 have now passed the 60 million mark in the two months since it officially launched, according to Microsoft. No matter how you slice it, that’s an impressive number – but it brings up all kinds of questions.

The company claimed four million licenses had been sold after its first weekend on sale. Then, after a month, those numbers jumped to 40 million licenses. Interestingly, by the time that Windows 7 had reached two months’ , it  also reached 60 million units.

This week during the Consumer Electronics Show, however, Microsoft released some metadata that providesclues about what those raw numbers may really mean. It’s unique, given that the company is famous for playing such numbers close to its chest. The numbers include “both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new devices.”

Likely, most of those licenses come from sales to OEMs for new devices. So how many of those 60 million units out there are still sitting on hard drives installed on PCs and laptops, waiting for people to buy them and take them home?

Upgrades at one time were a vital source of sales for new Windows versions, but over the decades, the market has shifted to where today many, if not most, users get an operating system upgrade by buying a new computer.

Additionally, not a large percentage of those 60 million licenses have begun to penetrate enterprises yet. “Twas the season” for consumer PC and device sales after all. Besides, corporate IT is historically slow to move to new operating systems — and even then, typically not without rigorous testing and subsequent deployment planning first.

However, after talking with a lot of IT professionals and hearing them say they’re not currently considering Windows 8, a number have added that they don’t know anyone else who’s doing more than dabbling, either.

It’s clear that Windows 8 still has a lot of inertia to overcome if it’s going to be as successful in the enterprise as Windows 7 has been. It’s different when the new version has to challenge the most popular operating system in history.

Microsoft may have more data to share on January 24 when it reports sales and earnings for its second fiscal quarter ended December 31. Perhaps by then the tea leaves will be clear.

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