Windows 10 is now running on over 1 billion monthly active devices, just six months after passing the 900 million device milestone. Microsoft has been consistently adding 100 million active Windows 10 devices every six months over the past two years. Windows 10 also passed 50% desktop market share in August.
The milestone is notable because Microsoft originally aimed to hit 1 billion devices running Windows 10 “in two to three years”. A year in, the company backpedaled on that goal after it became clear that Windows 10 Mobile was a failure. (Android has over 2.5 billion monthly active devices.) Windows 10 was released four years and eight months ago in July 2015. It thus took the company more than double its ambitious estimate and 20 months longer than its conservative estimate to pass 1 billion Windows 10 devices.
What’s next for Windows 10
Microsoft hasn’t been standing still though. In October, the company announced Windows 10X, a new flavor of Windows 10 designed for dual-screen PCs. At the same time, the company unveiled the dual-screen Surface Neo running Windows 10X, while promising dual-screen PCs from partners Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Microsoft is also developing Surface Duo, a foldable Android phone. Its mobile OS bet failed, so now Microsoft is double dipping on dual-screen devices. Microsoft’s market position makes it one of the players to watch as the industry attempts to figure out the next form factor.
Microsoft also shared today that Windows 10 powers 80,000 models and configurations of laptops and 2-in-1s from over 1,000 different manufacturers. And of course HoloLens, today’s Xbox consoles, and the upcoming Xbox Series X all run Windows 10 variants.
Windows 10 is the new normal. In January, Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 — it’s only a matter of time before another 500 million devices or so are running Windows 10. Here is how Microsoft put it today:
One in every seven people on the planet are planning, creating, ideating, executing, moving, shaking, and doing great things with Windows 10. With 100% of the Fortune 500 now using Windows 10 devices, it has become a critical platform for driving business transformation in the enterprise and beyond. As companies transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10, they are making a commitment to running their business more efficiently, more securely, and positioning themselves to offer better products, services, and solutions to their customers.
As you can see in the chart above, Windows 10 was adopted more quickly than its predecessors Windows 7 and Windows 8 from the very beginning. But Windows 10 is also a very different beast.
Major updates every six months
Microsoft used to release a new version of Windows every three years. Now it releases a major Windows 10 update twice a year, tried and tested by 17.8 million Windows Insiders.
That’s possible because Windows 10 is developed as a service, meaning it receives new features on a regular basis. Microsoft has released eight major updates so far: November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, April 2018 Update, October 2018 Update, May 2019 Update, and November 2019 Update.
The ninth update will arrive in a month or two. While the 1 billion mark came late, Windows 10’s update system is the real success.