Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the Modern Life, Search & Devices Group, Yusuf Mehdi announced today that the company had reached an important milestone.
Windows 10 now runs on more than 900 Million devices. Nine Hundred Million of anything is impressive, but the big milestone of a billion devices should arrive sometime in 2020.
Running on PCs, Laptops, 2-in-1s, even Xbox and Surface Hub, Windows has the dramatic challenge of running on an almost infinite combination of hardware configurations.
Already 4 years old, Microsoft committed early on to 2 major releases per year, with the latest stable release being 1903 and the latest preview release being 20H1.
It’s important to remember that Microsoft heavily incentivised customers to upgrade to Windows 10 and offered the upgrade free of charge of the first couple of years. Now, most users simply get Windows 10 when they buy a new device and through OEM sales, Microsoft has done very well.
When it comes to desktop operating systems, there’s Microsoft, then everyone else, with Windows accounting for close to 88% of the market. Despite all the Apple love, macOS runs on just 9.6% of computers. Linux, well it’s still not the year of Linux on the desktop with just 2% of desktops/laptops running the open-source OS.
If we look at the software market more broadly, the huge growth area has been mobile over the past 10 years and when it comes to worldwide device shipments, Windows actually lands well behind Android and iOS.
Overall the Windows 10 ride has been a good one, with many of the complaints from Windows 8 and 8.1 now addressed. The last few releases have really polished the experience for Windows users at home and at work. While things still aren’t perfect, on balance, the stability, performance and features easily make Windows 10 the best version of Windows yet.
In Mehdi’s post, he links to a pretty awesome site called Microsoft By the Numbers on their Story Labs platform. This site is actually visually amazing, one of the best I’ve seen. It highlights many important metrics for the business, but most relevant to this announcement is Cortana.
While Cortana never fired as a voice assistant in the home, they have managed to rack up 18 Billion answers.
If you’re like me, you’ve been using Windows 10 from the second you could and have never looked back. To remind you, here’s the list of new features that arrived in Windows 10.
- DirectX 12
- Microsoft Edge
- Xbox Game Streaming
- Game bar and Game DVR
- Action Center
- Modern Settings
- Windows Spotlight Lock Screen
- Windows Hello
- Ink Workspace
- Autocomplete and autocorrection in any Windows application
- Windows Autopilot
- Snip & Sketch
- Paint 3D
- Windows Mixed Reality
One of the dreams for Windows developers was the ability to write once and have it run anywhere (on any Win10 device). Unfortunately, that story became a lot harder when Microsoft moved away from mobile devices.
That said the Windows Store still exists and provides a method for the delivery of curated, vetted content that’s easy to install, update and uninstall.
My biggest wish for Windows 10 going forward is that they continue to address the most annoying issues, like applications stealing focus, or dialogue boxes being displayed with scrollbars when there’s plenty of available screen real estate.
There’s also still plenty of scope for the Windows 10 team to innovate and surprise its massive userbase with features we didn’t know we wanted. With a massive Windows Insider program, finding amazing ideas isn’t hard, they just need to find techniques to filter the good from the bad.
Congrats to the Windows team on hitting such a massive milestone, one that is likely just a pit stop on the road to a billion.