Windows 8: Critics Question Sales Claims

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) claimed that her firm has already sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses. If so, then Windows 8 is proving to be just as popular as its predecessor, Windows 7.

But some critics don't buy that claim.

Microsoft CFO Tami Reller made the 40 million Windows 8 licenses claim on November 27, 2012.

Microsoft CFO, CEO: 40 Million Licenses Sold

Reller, who will soon take over duties once assigned to departed Windows chief Steven Sinofsky, told guests at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference that "I am pleased to announce today that we have sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses so far. So, the journey is just beginning, but so far 40 million Windows 8 licenses to date."

On November 28, Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer also repeated the 40 million licenses claim. In the days that followed, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc used the Blogging Windows site to repeat that claim.

But some critics aren't buying these numbers. InfoWorld writer Woody Leonhard has suggested that, if that number were accurate, then Windows 8's uptake rate would show much different numbers. (Source:

According to industry analyst firm Net Applications, Windows 8's uptake rate is closer to that of Windows Vista than Windows 7. Net Applications bases its findings on the number of Windows 8 PCs connecting to the Internet.

Should Unused Licenses Count?

If Net Applications is wrong and there are 40 million Windows 8 licenses out there, many of the computers licensed to run the new operating system must lie dormant.

"It's all smoke and mirrors," Leonhard says. "I guess the people who bought Windows 8 aren't as interested in using the Web as their Windows 7 cohorts -- by a factor of four." (Source:

Reller, LeBlanc, Ballmer -- none of them has provided much detail about who has been buying those 40 million licenses.

Since the actual online usage of Windows 8 appears to remain low, some experts believe the Redmond-based company is counting licenses that have been sold to manufacturers rather than end users.

This could mean that many of those Windows 8 licenses have so far been applied only to new computers sitting in retailers' warehouses. (Source:

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