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Six months later: Microsoft sells 100 million Windows 8 licenses, keeps pace with Windows 7


It’s been more than six months since Windows 8 was launched last October, so how is Microsoft’s controversial operating system doing with consumers? According to Tami Reller, the company’s chief marketing and financial officer, more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold since launch – up from 60 million in January.

In fact, Windows 8 is now on-pace with equaling Windows 7′s record as Microsoft’s fastest selling operating system. However, the Redmond-based company isn’t exactly busting out the champagne to celebrate just yet. “I feel very good about that number, but [it's] not good enough,” Reller told GeekWire.

Microsoft seems to blame the slow uptake of Windows 8 on the minimal number of touch-based devices available at launch. “If there had been more touch devices in the market, it would have been even more,” Reller said to ZDNet. There will be over 2,400 new Windows 8 and RT devices available this year, so we’ll see if her theory proves true. In our opinion, the forthcoming update to Windows 8 (codenamed Blue) will probably help move even more copies of the operating system when it is released later this year since it should address some of the problems users are having with the new platform.

Reller also clarified that this 100 million number includes copies that are sold to manufacturers to pre-install on new computers, as well as upgrades to Windows 8 like the $15 offer for consumers who bought a new device between June 2012 and January 2013. Because that particular promotion ended in February, Reller noted that most of the 40 million licenses sold between January and April have been for new computers that shipped, which is not the same as the actual number of Windows 8 PCs that are sold or the number of users who actually use the new operating system (rather than wipe and install with a different OS). Though she wouldn’t say whether this number counts RT licenses as well, Reller did confirm that it excludes the volume-licenses that large businesses typically buy from Microsoft, so the number isn’t artificially inflated in this sense.

On the app store front, Reller seems more upbeat that the Windows Store has increased by six-fold since launch, which has “already passed what iOS had in store, in its first year of app development,” Reller in a Microsoft blog post. The company has recorded over 250 million app downloads in the past six months, with almost 90 percent of its app catalog being downloaded each month. According to MetroStoreScanner, the Windows Store now offers 67,908 apps, up from 40,000 in January.

In other words, Microsoft wants to assure you that Windows 8 isn’t quite the flop that Vista was and that the company is listening and slowly making improvements along the way. Is this too little too late for the software giant to woo back customers?