Back in January, Microsoft announced that its new Windows 8 operating system had sold 60 million licenses since its launch in October of 2012. Today, in a post on the official Microsoft blog, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer Tami Reller announced that the OS has sold more than 100 million licenses since launch. According to Reller, that number includes upgrade licenses in addition to new licenses sold with new PCs or Windows tablets.
Reaching the 100 million mark in early May puts Windows 8 only slightly behind Windows 7's trajectory. Microsoft announced that Windows 7 reached 100 million licenses sold on April 22, 2010, just six months after its October 22, 2009 launch.
Reller also revealed that the Windows Store has crossed more than 250 million app downloads since launch. In contrast, Google Play hit 25 billion downloads in September of last year and Apple started a contest only days ago to celebrate its impending milestone of 50 billion downloads. Microsoft still has a long road before it can stand with the big two.
The company is preparing to launch a Windows 8 update later this year, currently code-named Windows Blue.
"Windows Blue is a codename for an update that will be available later this year, building on the bold vision set forward with Windows 8 to deliver the next generation of tablets and PCs," said Reller. "It will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem. It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play. The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we've been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT."
One of those updates could see the return of the Windows 7 Start button in some form, though Reller would not confirm the addition in an interview with The Verge. She did note that there was a strong contingent of users who disliked the Start button's omission in Windows 8.
"We have heard that, we definitely have heard that and taken that into account," she told The Verge. "We've really also tried to understand what people are really asking for when they're asking for that."
Microsoft is also expanding Windows 8 towards the smaller tablet form-factors that have become popular in the past year. None of the existing Windows 8 tablets have been smaller than 10-inches, but Microsoft is working with hardware vendors to make sure it can meet the demand for 7- and 8-inch models.
"We've made sure from the product to our pricing and offerings that we are supporting 7- and 8-inch devices specifically. Blue does a nice job of optimizing for those small screen form factor sizes," Reller said to The Verge. "Yes, you'll see them before, but Blue also does more to support. It's still early days in terms of exactly the size within that category; I think we will see some good range even within the small form-factor category."