Back in September, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made an ambitious prediction: “One year from now – between Windows phones, Windows tablets and Windows PCs – we’ll see close to … 400 million new devices running those new operating systems.” Now, not two months later, Microsoft is 1 percent of the way toward that goal.
Speaking at the company’s Build conference this morning, Ballmer said Microsoft has sold four million Windows 8 upgrades since the operating system went on sale last Friday. “The level of enthusiasm we’ve seen is exciting,” Ballmer said. “I think we are really resonating across the board with the work we are bringing to market.”
It would seem so. With four million copies of Windows 8 sold to consumers in four days, Microsoft is off to an impressive start with its latest OS. But it’s got a long way to go to hit that 400 million number. Remember, Windows 7 sold about 175 million copies its first year at market, and Windows Phone 8 has not yet proven itself in the smartphone space.
One last point worth noting: Apple sold three million copies of Mountain Lion, the latest version of its OS X operating system, in the same time it took Microsoft to sell four million copies of Windows 8. But in selling those three million copies, Apple hit about 4.5 percent of its installed base of 66 million. In selling four million copies of Windows 8, Microsoft has only reached a third of 1 percent of its base, which is about 1.25 billion right now.
Errata: An earlier version of this post said Apple’s OS X installed base is 60 million.