Microsoft announced that after just four weeks over 75 million people had downloaded Windows 10, the next iteration of the operating system, onto their computers.
Within the first week of availability alone 14 million users installed Windows 10. So for Microsoft to add another 61 million users over the next three — a rate of more than 20 million a week — is a huge achievement. But how does it compare to Windows 7 and 8?
Paul Thurrot, one of the most knowledgeable bloggers on Microsoft, did the maths and worked out that in the first two months of availability, Windows 7 sold 60 million licenses. Licenses, of course, are not at all equal to sales, and many of these copies may have not made it onto a PC. After the first two months, the rate of sales dropped to 20 million where it remained for almost three years, an impressive feat considering how quickly technology industries change. According to Netmarketshare, almost one billion people use Windows 7 as of today.
After Windows 7 came Windows 8, an operating system many saw as the “next Vista” for its faults and flaws. Microsoft was quick to announce that Windows 8 sold 40 million licenses in its first month, omitting the fact that only a tiny percentage actually made it into the hands of users. Today, Windows 8 has a 16% share of the PC industry which equates to around 260 million computers, or a little over a quarter of Windows 7.
Thurrot estimates that between 80% and 90% of upgrades to Windows 10 come from old machines rather than people buying new computers, meaning that between 60 and 67.5 million actual Windows users updated their operating system within a month, a feat usually only achieved by Apple.
The comparisons are imperfect: Windows 10 is free while Windows 7 and 8 had upgrade costs. But, as Thurrot points out, all launch versions of Windows 7 and 8 came with promotional deals that cut the price by large margins, not to mention the fact that Windows 8.1 was totally free.
75 million PCs running the latest version of Windows is, whichever way you look at it, a victory for Microsoft and the sales so far seem to far outstrip previous versions of the operating system. Whether Windows 10 is still selling at such a rate in a few months time remains to be seen, but the initial performance far exceed Windows 7 and 8.