Microsoft Expects To Ship Over 350 Million Windows 7 Devices In 2012

Brad Chacos

With the rapid rise of tablets, analysts have been arguing over which PC hardware company is the biggest in all the land: HP or Apple ? Apple, of course, only enters the discussion if you count tablets as PCs. But regardless of how you look at technicalities, Microsoft wants to let you know that when it comes to the operating systems running on all that hardware, there's really only on sheriff in town: Windows.

Speaking in a forum from Seoul, Steve Ballmer said that the giant from Redmond is on pace to ship a whopping 350 million Windows 7 devices in 2012. That's right, over a quarter of a billion pieces of hardware -- and that number doesn't even take Windows 8 forecasts into account.

"It makes Windows the most popular single system," Bloomberg quotes Ballmer as saying . By contrast, "only" 103 million tablets will ship this year, with two-thirds of those carrying the iconic Apple logo.

So what's driving the demand? Bloomberg says enterprise firms contributed a big chunk. Only time will tell if the corporate IT customers are upgrading to Windows 7 now to avoid the headache of teaching norms how to use the Metro UI later.

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