It’s been just over a year since Microsoft announced it had hit its goal of 1 billion monthly active Windows 10 devices. It took a while to get there, but Microsoft now says Windows 10 is growing even faster, reaching a whopping 1.3 billion active installs in the last quarter. Like a number of other technology firms, Microsoft has the global pandemic to thank for its windfall. It turns out people buy more computers when they’re stuck at home.
“Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning,” said CEO Satya Nadella. The latest device count comes from Microsoft’s earnings report, which featured a stunning $41.7 billion in revenue for the quarter.
When Microsoft launched Windows 10 in 2015, it said it expected to reach a billion active monthly devices in summer 2018, but it missed that target by about 18 months. A big piece of Windows 10’s dominance was supposed to be smartphones, and Microsoft decided to abandon its Windows Phone program a few years later. It now makes Android phones, well, one phone so far. The Surface brand, which includes Windows laptops and the Duo Android phone, saw a 12 percent revenue lift in the last quarter.
Windows 10 also runs on laptops, tablets, game consoles, enterprise conferencing systems, and more. These devices together pushed the OS to the one billion mark. According to Microsoft, the addition of 300 million devices in the past year is due to the PC sales boom. Even in the midst of chip shortages, people are buying more computers than ever to support working from home, and most of those computers are running Windows 10.
In the last quarter, Microsoft reports that Windows OEM revenue jumped 10 percent. Compared with a year ago, revenue for non-Pro OEM Windows 10 licenses rose by a staggering 44 percent. Despite all the interest around Apple’s new ARM-based laptop chips and Google’s increasingly powerful (and cheap) Chrome OS devices, Windows is still cruising along. Microsoft’s overall financial state is great, too. The company’s profit in the last quarter clocked in at $15.5 billion.
So, where does Microsoft go from here? A sizable chunk of Microsoft’s revenue comes from cloud services, and Windows 10 is the ideal way to push those products to consumers and enterprise alike. The jump in OEM licenses might not last beyond the pandemic, but Office 365 and Azure are seeing more modest, and possibly sustainable, revenue growth.
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