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We haven't heard a whole lot from Microsoft in regards to Windows 8 sales, so it was a nice surprise when Redmond's Executive Vice President of Marketing spilled the beans on exactly how many license have been sold to date. According to comments Reller made at a Goldman Sachs technology conference, Microsoft has sold more than 200 million Windows 8 licenses since launching to the public in October 2012 (and to OEMs in August 2012).
"We've surpassed 200 million licenses now on Windows 8, which is pretty stunning," Reller said, according to The Verge.
In a way, that is stunning, considering all the criticism Microsoft took for forcing desktop users to accept a touch-friendly interface that's best suited for touchscreen devices like tablets and hybrids. At the same time, Microsoft sold over 240 million Windows 7 licenses a year after it debuted, so Windows 8 isn't doing as well as its predecessor.
The slower sales can't all be blamed on the overhauled UI. Some of the blame has to be put on the PC market as a whole, which finds itself in a slump as users flock to tablets and smartphones in place of secondary systems. Still, Microsoft isn't blind to the concerns of traditional desktop users.
"We're being very thoughtful about what's going well, what's not going well, and how do we change that," Reller said.
Windows 8.1 represented the first major step in addressing customers' concerns. It brought back the Start button (not the Start menu) and introduced a number of other user-friendly changes. Microsoft is also planning a robust update to Windows 8.1 in spring.