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Microsoft announced this week that Windows 10 has hit a significant milestone. The flagship operating system is now in use on 1 billion—with a “B”—active devices each month.
According to Net Marketshare, Windows 10 claims more than half of the desktop operating system market with 50.34%. When you combine Windows 10 with Windows 7—which is the second-place operating system at 31.3% despite no longer being officially supported by Microsoft—Windows holds a very dominant portion of the operating system pie. Actually, of the remaining 18.36%, Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 make up another 6.33%, so Windows has nearly 90% of the desktop OS market by itself.
Windows 10 is significant because it represents a line in the sand. With the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft fundamentally changed the entire model for how it develops its flagship operating system, and how it manages updates and upgrades. Windows 10 follows more of a smartphone or mobile device system of continuous updates and upgrades, as opposed to the traditional model of adding features via massive Service Packs and launching an entirely new version of the operating system every few years. When Microsoft launched Windows 10 they should have dropped the 10 and just called it Windows. The version number is sort of irrelevant in this distribution and update model.
There’s a lot to love about Windows 10 in and of itself, but Microsoft didn’t reach this milestone alone. I would be remiss if I did not give credit to the massive and diverse ecosystem of partners that build devices around the Windows 10 operating system.
Mehdi Corporate Vice President of Modern Life, Search and Devices for Microsoft, pointed out in a blog post that for Microsoft reaching the mark of one billion with Windows 10 is just a beginning.
Having a number attached when there are effectively no longer versions of the operating system seems silly. But what’s done is done. It is Windows 10, and it has become so ingrained in the mainstream consciousness around the globe that a billion devices per month rely on it.