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Windows 10 adoption cools off after a strong start driven by upgrades from existing Windows users.

Windows 10 Joe Belfiore Build 2017 main


Microsoft now has nearly 700 million Windows 10 users, and 135 million commercial users of Office 365. The company shared the numbers while detailing the growth of Microsoft 365, which combines Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) into one single service.

“Microsoft 365 is where the world gets its best work done,” Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, Microsoft said at Build 2018. Terry Myerson, who departed after the company-wide restructuring in March, had announced that the operating system is set to surpass Windows 7 and is approaching 700 million active devices. Microsoft’s active device metric is based on devices that have been active in the past 28 days. It includes Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox consoles, HoloLens, and Surface Hub devices.

In November last year, Microsoft had announced that Windows 10 has 600 million active monthly devices. However, it now seems the growth momentum has started to slow down. At the launch of Windows 10 in 2015, Microsoft claimed it will have 1 billion users on the new version of Windows within three years. Microsoft officials later conceded that it will take longer than that to hit that ambitious target. The failure to reach 1 billion active devices could be due to decline in sales of PCs in the last few quarters, and Microsoft’s failure to put smartphones running Windows 10 mobile in the hands of consumers.

According to StatCounter, Windows 10 has a market share of 46.07 percent, while Windows 7 has a 40.08 percent at the end of April 2018. It estimates Windows 8.1, Windows XP and Windows 8 to be used by eight percent, three percent, and two percent active users respectively.

For Microsoft, Windows 7 is now becoming another Windows XP. When Microsoft ended support for XP in April 2014, it still ran on nearly 29 percent of all active Windows PCs. With the slower than expected adoption of Windows 10, it seems Windows 7 will prevail a lot longer than previously anticipated. Microsoft, however, is not pitching Windows 10 as a standalone operating system anymore.

It is rather using Build 2018 to showcase new features coming Microsoft 365 with the goal of selling license to Office 365 as well. With increase in cyber-security risk and ransomware, Microsoft is hoping more enterprises upgrade to Windows 10, which is constantly updated against known vulnerabilities.

In March, Microsoft announced a company-wide restructuring and created a new division called Experiences & Devices, which folds devices, Windows, New Experiences and Technology like HoloLens and Enterprise Mobility into a single team. “The purpose of this team is to instill a unifying product ethos across our end-user experiences and devices,” Nadella wrote in an email to employees.

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