Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller has revealed that Windows 8 licenses sold has now passed the 100 million mark, six months after its launch. This is said to include installations on new PCs and tablets, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. Reller didn’t reveal the breakdown of Windows 8 licenses, which includes Windows RT sales, but did say that there are now 2,400 devices certified to run its controversial new operating system.
Reller also gave additional insight into Windows Blue, which will be released officially as Windows 8.1 before the end of the year. “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,” she added.
According to Reller, it has been very much shaped by customer feedback on Windows 8 and Windows RT. “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,” said Reller. “From a company-wide perspective, Windows Blue is part of a broader effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft,” she explained.
Although Reller didn’t discuss exactly what changes will arrive with Windows Blue, leaked builds of the updated operating system have hinted that Microsoft may bring back the ‘Start’ button in the desktop mode. Other leaks have also suggested that Microsoft may even allow users to skip the Startscreen and boot directly into the desktop. While this will be a useful function in Windows 8.1, it may be omitted in Windows 8.1 RT as its desktop functionality is much more limited.
Windows Blue is also expected to unleash a wave of smaller sub-8-inch Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, which Reller hinted at in her comments. The Redmond-based company recently adjusted the screen resolution requirements for Windows 8 devices paving the way to the availability of smaller Windows devices. Overall tablet sales are roughly split between over 8-inch tablets and sub-8-inch tablets. The availability of smaller Windows 8 devices is needed if Microsoft and its partners are to fully address the tablet market.