Windows 8: 100M Licenses Sold, Blue Update in 2013

What PC slowdown? Microsoft strikes an optimistic tone as it comments on the state of its flagship operating system, Windows 8, six months after its splashy launch.

Microsoft sold 100 million licenses for Windows 8 in the six months that the touch-enabled operating system has been on the market, Tami Reller, both chief marketing officer and chief financial officer for Microsoft, revealed in a May 7 Windows blog Q&A. It's a figure that includes upgrades, as well as copies that ship with PCs and tablets.

On Jan. 8, the company announced that it had sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses, a "similar sales trajectory that we saw with Windows 7," announced Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft spokesman.

Depicting Windows 8 as "a big, ambitious change," Reller added that the company felt "good about the progress since launch." She also reported that the platform now included 2,400 Windows 8 and RT devices that were certified to carry the Windows logo.

The software giant signaled that it plans to keep the momentum going with Blue, the code name for Windows 8.1. Reller definitively pointed to a 2013 release of the update by stating that it "will be available later this year."

"It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play. The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we've been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT," said Reller.

The Microsoft executive also indicated that Blue won't be limited to Windows. She described Blue as a company wide "effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft."

Reller reported some progress on the apps front as well, boasting that the company "surpassed 250 million Store apps downloaded in the first six months, and almost 90% of our app catalog has been downloaded every month." In-house, Microsoft has issued "hundreds of updates to first-party apps," including Mail, People and Calendar.

SkyDrive and, which offer deep Windows 8 integration, are experiencing brisk adoption. SkyDrive just surpassed the 250 million user mark, said Reller. She also highlighted "400 million active accounts" and more than 700 million active Microsoft accounts.

On the topic of the cratering PC market, Reller was upbeat. "The PC is very much alive and increasingly mobile," she said.

Reller asserted that mobile computing didn't sneak up on Microsoft—Windows 8 was part of the plan. "Windows 8 was built to fully participate in this broader and increasingly mobile device market. The PC part of the market is rapidly evolving to include new convertible devices and amazing new touch laptops, and all-in-ones," she wrote.

Microsoft appears to be banking on a flood of new, lower-cost Windows 8 devices to help perk up the PC market. "These new PCs are hitting the market now and into the back-to-school season, and they are more affordable than ever," stated Reller.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...