Although it's early into Windows 10's lifespan, Microsoft is already declaring the operating system a winner less than six months after its official launch.
Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, revealed that the software giant is well on its way of getting its latest OS on a billion devices by mid-2018. "As of today, there are more than 200 million monthly active devices around the world running Windows 10," Mehdi said in a Jan. 4 announcement. Microsoft has taken to using the Facebook-like "monthly active" metric—unique devices per month instead of users in this case—to tally up the total number of devices running Windows 10 since launch.
In October, Microsoft said there were more than 110 million PCs, tablets and other devices running the Windows 10 OS, 8 million of which qualify as business PCs. Part of the reason Microsoft was able to rack up an additional 90 million devices was a brisk holiday demand, according to Mehdi.
More than 40 percent of new Windows 10 devices were activated since Black Friday, the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving. "Since Black Friday, US retail PC share for Windows 10 grew 16 points to 62 percent compared to the prior four weeks. Windows 10 mix of PCs rose to 87 percent from 58 percent prior to the holiday," said Mehdi.
Windows 10 adoption is outpacing that of its popular predecessor, Windows 7, by 140 percent and Windows 8 by nearly 400 percent, Mehdi added. Businesses and schools are also a source of "accelerating and unprecedented demand," he said. "As of today, more than 76 percent of our enterprise customers are in active pilots of Windows 10, and we now have over 22 million devices running Windows 10 across enterprise and education customers."
Mehdi also reported that users are spending more time with their Windows devices compared with previous versions of the OS.
"One of the ways we measure our progress with Windows 10 is looking at how people are using Windows," he stated. "Recently we reached another milestone—people have spent over 11 billion hours on Windows 10 in December alone, spending more time on Windows than ever before."
In the past month, users have spent 44.5 billion minutes in Microsoft Edge, the new default Web browser for Windows. Cortana, the voice-enabled virtual assistant also bundled with the OS, has fielded over 2.5 billion minutes since the system software launched on July 29.
On the device front, buyers seeking out the first Windows 10 smartphones, Lumia 950 and 950 XL, were often met with sold-out signs. Microsoft is working on resupplying retailers carrying the new flagship Windows handsets, Mehdi said.
Surface Book, the company's first laptop, will soon go on sale in territories outside the U.S. and Canada, announced Mehdi. "Starting tomorrow, customers will be able to pre-order Surface Book in Austria, Australia, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and New Zealand and it will be coming soon to Japan." Microsoft also plans to make the Surface Book available in India within the "coming weeks," he added.
Editor's Note: This story was updated to clarify Microsoft's use of the "monthly active" metric.