So Steve Ballmer isn’t going around saying that half a billion people will be using Windows 8 in 2013, as was reported by the AFP and commented on by us.What he did say was equally confusing but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Microsoft PR did contact us after our original article and explained that Ballmer was talking about the number of Window 7 machines that COULD upgrade to Windows 8, not the number of people that WOULD actually use Windows 8 in its first year.
We asked them to send us Ballmer’s exact quote. They didn’t, but Todd Bishop at GeekWire got a hold of the transcript and published the remark:
“With something like 400 million to 500 million users expected in the next year, the best economic activity for people building machines, and the best economic opportunity for people writing applications will be around Windows,” Ballmer said, according to Bishop.
Best economic activity for writing applications? Maybe not.
When it comes to convincing Windows developers to write apps for Windows 8, it doesn’t matter how many Windows 7 machines are out there. Windows 8 Metro style apps won’t run on them. And why write Windows 7 apps when Windows 8 is just around the corner?
On top of that, the mere sale of a Windows 8 licence isn’t enough. Many corporations will buy a new PC and then put an older version of Windows on it. This is called downgrading and there are lots of reasons companies won’t be ready for Windows 8 next year. Even Michael Dell thinks so.
So how many Windows 8 machines by the end of 2013? We don’t know for sure, but it’s safe to say NOT a half a billion.