By most accounts, Windows 8 isn’t all that popular, but according to Microsoft’s latest numbers, the company has now sold more than 100 million copies of the latest version of its desktop operating system. In January, the last time Microsoft provided updated numbers for Windows 8, the company said that it had passed the 60 million mark. Windows 8 users are also getting used to using the Windows Store, it seems, as the total number of downloads for the first six months has now passed 250 million.
The number of apps in the store, Microsoft’s CFO and CMO Tami Reller said in a canned interview with Microsoft communications manager Brandon LeBlanc today, has increased 6x since launch and 90% of the apps are downloaded at least once every month. Given that the Store didn’t have all that many apps in it when Windows 8 launched, a 6x increase doesn’t sound all that big, but Reller argues that this means Windows 8 has “already passed what iOS had in store, in its first year of app development.” Earlier today, Microsoft also said that SkyDrive now has more than 250 million active customers.
Windows Blue: Coming “Later This Year”
While Microsoft has long acknowledged that the next version of Windows has the codename “Windows Blue” and various leaks have already revealed many of its features, the company has never announced a roadmap for Blue. In today’s “interview,” Keller said that Blue will be available “later this year, building on the bold vision set forward with Windows 8 to deliver the next generation of tablets and PCs.” Blue she said, “will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem.” Blue, she also noted, is an opportunity for Microsoft to respond to feedback from its customers (who all seem to be clamoring for the return of the Start menu).
With Microsoft Build at the end of June, chances are we will hear quite a bit more about Blue at that time, so it’s probably a fair guess that “later this year” refers to the late summer.