One month after debut, Windows 10 running on 75 million devices

Keegan Pope

SEATTLE — Microsoft, a company built on getting people to pay for software, is reaping the benefits of free. Four weeks after its debut, the new Windows 10 operating system now powers more than 75 million devices, Yusuf Mehdi, the Microsoft executive overseeing Windows marketing, said Wednesday.

Much of that momentum, analysts say, is because Microsoft is offering Windows 10 free to the majority of home users of the prior two major Windows releases. Microsoft has said the offer will extend at least through next July.

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“That’s pretty impressive,” said Steve Kleynhans, an analyst with researcher Gartner. “I don’t think any other operating system achieved that in less than six months.”

In Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to rebound from the lackluster market performance of Windows 8, the previous major version.

The touch-focused interface of Windows 8 dumped the traditional start menu, confusing many users. Many businesses and home users remained with its well-regarded predecessor, Windows 7, which still accounts for more than half of Windows users.

Windows 10 now powers 5.7 percent of personal computers and tablets worldwide, according to Web analytics company StatCounter.

At the same point after the release of Windows 8, that software was running just 1 percent of devices. Windows 7 held a 4 percent share at its four-week mark.

Still, it remains to be seen whether Windows 10 will revive the beleaguered PC market.

Though Microsoft has pitched Windows 10 as a product designed to work well on devices of all types, the operating system is heavily dependent on a PC market that has declined as consumers gravitated toward smartphones and tablets. Windows runs about nine out of every 10 laptop and desktop computers, but has a single-digit share of tablets and smartphones.

Data tracker IDC said Wednesday it expected global PC sales to decline by 8.7 percent this year, and fall 1.1 percent in 2016. Microsoft hasn’t announced a release date for Windows 10’s smartphone editions.

Courtesy of Tribune News Service