Microsoft Says 300 Million Devices Run Windows 10

May 5, 2016, 3:55 PM UTC
Microsoft Corp. Launches Windows 10 In Japan
A visitor tries out Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 10 operating system on a tablet device during a launch event in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The release of Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system -- an event that in years past sparked a surge of computer buying -- will do little to ease the four-year sales slump that's been dogging the PC industry. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Kiyoshi Ota — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Microsoft loves to tout big numbersand 300 million is a big number. That’s how many devices are “actively using” Windows 10, according to a Thursday blog post by corporate vice president Yusef Mehdi.

Given that Microsoft (MSFT) claimed 200 million Windows 10 devices just four months ago, that’s impressive, although most people take these vendor-supplied stats with a big grain of salt.

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Microsoft really wants laggards on older versions of Windows to get the lead out: The company’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer will end July 29.

Netmarketshare numbers still show Windows 7 as the most popular version of the operating system with nearly 48% of the desktop operating system market. Windows 10, less than a year old, has a respectable 15.34%. But then again, the 15-year-old perennial favorite Windows XP still clings to 10.63% share, according to Netmarketshare.

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It’s also interesting that Mehdi characterized Windows 10 as an “online service,” rather than an operating system. That reflects Microsoft’s move to embrace cloud computing and delivering software features and capabilities in a continuous stream via a subscription service. That’s a change from the traditional way of offering a major release every three to five years with umpteen smaller updates and patches coming in between.

Benefits of Windows 10 include Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri-like personal digital assistant which recognizes spoken words. Providing yet another “big number”, Microsoft said Cortana has answered 6 billion questions since launch last year.

Will Windows 10 reinvigorate Microsoft?

Microsoft has placed high hopes in Windows 10, which runs on its own Surface machines as well as hardware from the usual suspects: Dell, HP (HPQ), et al.

With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to stop Apple (AAPL) from taking more market share in big business accounts, where that company has lined up such big-boy allies as IBM (IBM) and Cisco (CSCO). Apple also dominates in the consumer market where both iPhones (as well as Android devices) outsell Windows phones by a ton.

Note: This story was updated at 12:59 p.m. EDT to reflect that the free upgrade program will end July 29, 2016