Despite analyst misgivings, Microsoft exec says at CES new operating system is on pace to match early Windows 7 sales.
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A Microsoft official said the company has sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses since launching the touch-friendly operating system last year.
"I would like to announce that we have reached the 60-million license mark with Windows 8," said Tami Reller, CFO of Microsoft's Windows division. Reller, speaking Tuesday at the JP Morgan Tech Forum at CES Las Vegas, said the number puts early Win8 sales on pace with those of Windows 7, which debuted in October 2009.
It's "roughly in line with where we would have been with Windows 7," said Reller. "So, we feel good about what we have been able to accomplish with the ecosystem. Still much more, so much more opportunity ahead, but certainly looking back we're pleased with what we were able to accomplish with the project, and what we were able to accomplish with the ecosystem heading into launch, and in the first selling season."
Windows 8 became available to enterprises last summer, and launched to consumers on Oct. 26. Reller said the 60 million includes licenses sold to PC and tablet makers, and upgrade licenses. She did not provide a more specific breakdown of the numbers.
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Some market watchers have taken a less rosy view of Windows 8's launch performance. In late November, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said that his checks of the Asian supply chain revealed that Windows 8 was off to a slow start. "Much lower than ... PC makers originally expected a few months ago," said White, in a report.
Deutsche Bank recently cut its estimate for fourth-quarter PC sales, due to "lackluster initial uptake of Windows 8," according to analyst Chris Whitmore.
Reller is one of two Microsoft execs overseeing the company's Windows group in the wake of the sudden departure of unit president Steven Sinofsky in November. The other is Julie Larson-Green, head of Windows software and hardware engineering.
Reller said Sinofsky's exit would not impact Windows 8's future success. "There is an incredibly deep bench in Windows, not only at the senior leadership level, but across the organization." She added that Sinofksy's departure was "a day of distraction and then people went back to the project that they're working on, which we won't talk about today."
Microsoft shares were flat, at $26.63, in morning trading Wednesday. The company is expected to report earnings on Jan. 24.
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