UPDATED 13:56 EDT / APRIL 30 2015

NEWS

Microsoft hopes to have Windows 10 on ONE BILLION devices in just 3 years

Microsoft’s Terry Myerson, head of the company’s Operating Systems Group, has gone out on a limb and predicted that Windows 10 will be running on one billion devices within the next two to three years.

Myserson made his claims during day one of the company’s Build 2015 developer conference in San Francisco. He said the one billion encompasses all kinds of devices that will be able to run Windows 10, which means not just PCs and laptops but also Windows Phones, Xbox consoles, Surface Hubs, HoloLens glasses and various other kinds of IoT devices.

Microsoft seems to think the one billion figure is achievable because Windows 10 is being ‘unified’ with a common core, so the same OS can be run on just about any platform. Each version of the OS will feature development tools and programming interfaces.

Nevertheless, one billion still seems somewhat ambitious. As The Register‘s Gavin Clarke points out, while Windows 10 will indeed be able to run on most devices, Microsoft is still counting on the vast majority being installed on PCs. While the HoloLens looks cool, new ideas have a knack of quickly becoming disposable gimmicks and it’s unlikely to make that great an impact. As for Windows Phone, that’s had years to set the world alight and has done anything but. Meanwhile the Xbox 360 mustered just 84 million sales worldwide during its lifespan, which makes it unlikely that Xbox One sales (currently around the 10 million mark) will do much to push Windows 10 to Myserson’s magic number.

Even so, Microsoft is going to great lengths to convince people they’re better off upgrading to Windows 10 as soon as possible. So much so that the company has made upgrading to Windows 10 free for all consumers running Windows 7 and Windows 8 during the first year. It’s also made the same offer to some small businesses, while the OS will be given away free to most of its PC and smartphone partners in an effort to convince them to install it on their hardware.

Besides giving it away, Microsoft has also put a lot of work into making Windows 10 more user-friendly, something that’s particularly important for businesses worried about retraining costs. Windows 8 was widely slated due to its omission of the Start button, it’s Metro-style interface and its touch-first focus that completely ignored keyboard and mice users. Windows 10 has righted many of these wrongs, and Microsoft has also added numerous enterprise-friendly features to further tempt businesses into making the upgrade.

Perhaps the one billion figure is not so unrealistic after all. When one considers there are about 1.5 billion PCs in the world currently running some version of Windows, Microsoft only needs to convince about two thirds of those to upgrade to Windows 10. Throw in a sprinkling of Windows Phone, Xbox and HoloLens users, and Microsoft might just be able to surprise us.

 

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