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Microsoft plugs 300 million Windows 10 devices, reiterates July end to free upgrade

Gregg Keizer | May 6, 2016
But skeptics continue to doubt that the company will kill the free upgrade.

Moorhead applauded the usage numbers from Microsoft, calling them a proof of engagement.

"It's a positive mark," said Moorhead of Microsoft's statistics. "Windows has had its reputation thrust on it by the competition, who claim that Windows users are not engaged in doing this or doing that. But this is all part of the messages to [Microsoft's] ecosystems. To the hardware OEMs, it '[Windows 10] is a growing and thriving environment, and you should have confidence in making devices.' To developers, it's all about UWP [Universal Windows Platform] apps."

To most, the important number is 300 million, described this time as "active devices," as opposed to the "active users" metric Microsoft used previously. It was unclear whether the change reflected a true difference.

Microsoft's 300 million includes not only personal computers -- which obviously compose the bulk -- but also tablets, smartphones, Xbox One game consoles and other hardware. That explained the difference between Microsoft's number and the latest estimate generated by Computerworld, which, based on analytics vendor Net Applications' user share data and the often-cited total of 1.5 billion Windows PCs worldwide, pegged the OS on 259 million personal computers during April.

It was no great surprise, then, that the growth over that month as expressed by Net Applications and Microsoft were similar: Microsoft claimed an increase of 30 million, while Net Applications' data signaled a slightly smaller 24 million.

"I think Microsoft is proving to everybody that Windows 10 is a third viable platform," said Moorhead. "iOS and Android didn't kill Windows."

Microsoft plans to release the next major upgrade to Windows 10, dubbed "Anniversary Update," this summer. Mehdi did not divulge a specific date today, but many expect that the upgrade will ship near, or even on, July 29.


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