steve ballmer microsoft Windows 8 building up some steam: 40M licenses sold in one month

Sale of Windows 8's licenses has surpassed the speed of Windows 7’s initial launch, in terms of early-stage upgrades. Does this mean Windows 8 is a success though, or is it just a temporary fling?

Microsoft’s official blog states that the factors behind Windows 8’s ‘success’ is that upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 is “super easy”, and because Windows 8 was also designed to work well on existing Windows 7 PCs. Is that the real reason though? Or did it have something to do with the fact it only costs $40 to upgrade a Windows XP< Vista, or 7 PC to Windows 8 (until January 31st, at least).

Who knows what the real deal is, but while Windows 8 stirs polarizing opinions worldwide with its ‘tablet-like’ interface, it doesn't appear to be slowing down sales-wise. According to Microsoft, the OS sold 4 million upgrades in its first three days of release, and the new 40 million mark suggests that this upgrade-a-thon is still ongoing.

Additional sales figures were not announced (such as Microsoft’s recent flagship Surface tablet), and its difficult to know whether users are sticking with the Fisher Price-esque Windows 8 or downgrading back to the warm familiar sight of Windows 7 after a weeks use.

At this point in the game a sale is a sale, so it’s all great for Microsoft, and they may be able to hook people to keep using the OS thanks to the opening of their Windows Store back in October, which apparently launched with more apps than any other app store, and the number of apps available has already doubled since October.

Developers who sell their apps through the Windows Store get 80% of the profits made through it, and this continues throughout the life of the app. Twenty percent is no small levy, but it's a good alternative to piracy at least.

Apparently a number of apps on the store have already made more than $25,000, suggesting that PC users really aren’t all a bunch of dirty pirates after all, and that they are willing to pay money for software if the purchase process is easy enough. This mirrors Valve Software’s approach with their Steam platform, which aims to keep users buying by offering a pleasant buying experience.

With a direct rival to their Steam service, its also easy to see why Valve’s boss Gabe Newell would get so upset about it, too.

The Windows Store itself is more of a revolution than Windows 8 is, and may spur renewed interest in developing both apps and games for the PC platform, now that there is money to be had.