Windows 10 on track to be fastest mover

By Selina Wang

Among Windows 10 devices, the Xbox One led the way in 2015. Photo / Bloomberg
Among Windows 10 devices, the Xbox One led the way in 2015. Photo / Bloomberg

Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system is running on more than 200 million devices, putting the software on course for the fastest growth trajectory of any previous version as the company faces increasing competition with Apple and Google.

The software upgrade, released in July 2015, is outpacing Windows 8 by almost 400 per cent, according to a post on the Windows blog by corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Group Yusuf Mehdi.

This inches the company closer to its goal of having 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in 2018.

Microsoft gives peek at coming Windows 10
Windows 10 now on more than 75 million devices

The success of Windows 10 is key to chief executive Satya Nadella's strategy of building an ecosystem of gadgets and cloud-based software and services that work together -- similar to the way that Apple's and Google's do now.

Microsoft is also counting on Windows to help restore growth to one of the company's flagship businesses as revenue from the PC operating system has fallen 19 per cent in the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

"Is it enough to believe Windows has turned the corner?" said Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Co.

"No, but it's a positive sign in that direction."

The release of the new operating system came amid a slump in the market for PCs and as the consumer-gadgets market has moved away from Microsoft.

The company's introduction of new phones, a tablet and a laptop in October was an effort to attract consumers and developers to its operating system.

"We continue to be excited -- and humbled -- by the incredible response to Windows 10," Medhi wrote in the post.

Overall, we are seeing significantly higher customer satisfaction with Windows 10 than any prior version of Windows.

Windows 10 was released as a free upgrade for many consumers, while large businesses paid for multi-year licenses that included the new program. More than 22 million devices are running the new operating system across enterprise and education customers, according to Mehdi.

"At the end of the day, they are behind iOS and Android in terms of people using Windows on mobile," said Anurag Rana, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. "The push towards Windows 10 is one way to narrow that gap."

New features in Windows 10 include Cortana voice-enabled personal assistant and the new Edge browser that replaces Internet Explorer. Microsoft has also made a "major investment" in creating a single app and Windows store, designed to help developers create content that reaches users across platforms.

Among Windows 10 devices, the Xbox One led the way in 2015.

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