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Microsoft won't say exactly how many windows 8 machines are being used

Not too long ago Microsoft was bragging that it had sold 100 million licenses for Windows 8. While the software giant was happy to say how many licenses that have sold, it's not offering any details on exactly how many of those licenses have been activated and how many copies of Windows 8 are in use. This is a question analytics firm Moor Insights & Strategy recently tackled.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead stated, "The challenge is figuring out what that [100m licenses sold] actually means. It doesn't mean that there are that many devices out the door."

According to the analytics firm, copies of Windows 8 sold to OEMs make up the bulk of the 100 million licenses sold. However, the 100 million mark excludes copies of Windows 8 sold to the enterprises as part of the volume licensing agreement.

Moorhead estimates that only 59 million Windows 8 devices are actually in use. That means that a little less than half of all of those 100 million licenses sold that Microsoft likes to brag about our sitting in a warehouse somewhere unused.

"How many Windows 8 PCs have sold and are being used?" asked Moorhead, arguing that that was a more accurate representation. "No specific news from Microsoft [on that] is bad news, because if it was good news, Microsoft would be shouting it at the top of their lungs. Instead, Microsoft is thinking they don't want to be persecuted over the number, so they're not saying anything."

Since Microsoft won’t offer specific numbers on how many computers have been activated running Windows 8, the estimate was based on data collected from analytics firm Net Applications.
Windows 8 currently accounts for 4.2% of all Windows PCs according to data collected by the company. The entire Windows ecosystem consists of 1.4 billion machines meaning that 58.6 million are likely to use Windows 8.

Source: Computerworld

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"Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By SoCalBoomer on 5/13/2013 4:22:12 PM , Rating: 5
Coming up with a number in the face of Microsoft's refusal to divulge activation data risks wild inaccuracies.

While I don't believe that 100M is the number of active licenses, I do believe there is a reasonable explanation. Since MS doesn't sell computers (aside from the Surfaces) a large number of those licenses are always in the pipeline. That's the way it worked with Win7, with XP, with Vista, with all versions.

The company doing the statistics is using web reporting, which is flawed. It measures only those visiting its reporting sites. It also measures only those that are reporting their information accurately (mine don't - scripting is turned off)

In addition,
the firm massages its raw data
which always leads me to be suspicious - weighting the data by country of origin. . . why?

Not that I use Win8 much (it's on one machine - a Dell XPS12Duo, where it's appropriate and works well) and don't really care. But I HATE articles that are misleading like this - propagating misleading articles themselves.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By max_payne on 5/13/2013 4:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
To have a better idea, a more reliable source I believe will be They have cookies on about every machine in the world! They have a nice site which you can see informative figures. In the US, windows 8 usage is 3.34% (from Nov 2012 to April 2013). Worldwide, it is 2.88% while 7 is 53%.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Solandri on 5/13/2013 5:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
Statcounter only counts hits, they don't correct for unique visitors. This distinction has been abused in the past by iPhone proponents who look at data only from sites which count unique visitors, and (wrongly) conclude that the iPhone has a huge lead and Android users only casually browse the web. When statcounter shows that Android traffic has exceeded iPhone traffic since 2011, meaning that in fact it is the iPhone users who only casually use the web. Most of the hardcore users who browse the web on their phone are on Android.

Anyway, in this case you want it the other way around. You want to count unique visitors to see how widely Win 8 has been adopted.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By max_payne on 5/13/2013 7:00:11 PM , Rating: 2
That's an interesting point. This is their reasoning behind that ;

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By kingmotley on 5/13/2013 5:27:30 PM , Rating: 2
Statcounter isn't a very popular service. It only tracks 50 million page views a month, which is pretty darn small.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Schmide on 5/13/2013 5:48:12 PM , Rating: 3
Yet more than large enough...

Using statical sample size calculations

E = Sqrt[(N - n)x/n(N-1)]
n = N x/((N-1)E2 + x)
x = Z(c/100)2r(100-r)

N = population size > 20k
r = 50% responses you are interested in
c = 95% confidence

blah blah blah

Min samples needed for confidence of 95% +- 5% = 377

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Mint on 5/13/2013 7:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, if you're doing truly unbiased random samples.

There's no way for statcounter to ensure that.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Schmide on 5/13/2013 8:02:43 PM , Rating: 2
Every sample has a bias Dude, that's the nature of the beast.

The issue was how many samples do you need to quantify the confidence factor. The above holds true for even the most biased sample.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Mint on 5/14/2013 11:22:55 AM , Rating: 2
The issue was how many samples do you need to quantify the confidence factor. The above holds true for even the most biased sample.
Of course it doesn't. Biased sampling makes that calculated confidence interval completely meaningless. Go look at the assumptions in the derivation of the formulae you used.

Looking at all the hits to a particular set of websites is clustered sampling. On top of that, how you chose those websites is prone to bias as well.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Schmide on 5/14/2013 4:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't understand your adversity? You seem to poo poo the data regardless of which type of opposition you choose, lack of samples vs biased data.

Biased sampling makes that calculated confidence interval completely meaningless.

Actually they are completely independent of each other!!!

Regardless of all this there isn't some magical error term that is going to sway these numbers in any dramatic fashion.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By BRB29 on 5/14/2013 7:35:54 AM , Rating: 2
at 15 billion samples, it's more than enough to do 99% confidence.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By max_payne on 5/13/2013 6:46:57 PM , Rating: 2
I think you have it wrong. It's 50 billions page/month.

"In other words we calculate our Global Stats on the basis of more than 15 billion pages views per month, by people from all over the world onto our 3 million+ member sites".

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By max_payne on 5/13/2013 6:49:17 PM , Rating: 2
ahhhhh me too, 15 billions pages/month, not 50, sorry.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By dgingerich on 5/13/2013 5:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
Even better explanation:

Business systems are sold with Win8 OEM licenses. The IT department doesn't want to use Win8, but the only way they can get a license for it from MS is to buy a Win8 VL edition license with downgrade rights. So, they're essentially buying two Win 8 licenses and not actually using Win8 on anything.

That's probably where most of the Win8 licenses (and about 90% of the Vista licenses back in the day) that MS reports.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Varun on 5/14/2013 12:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
Um your business is not very smart if you are buying Windows 8 OEM and Windows 8 VL at the same time. Just do your bulk order with no OS if you are doing VL.

So what I'm saying is you are full of crap.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By Integral9 on 5/14/2013 8:33:37 AM , Rating: 2
You might want to check out your user agent string. I don't believe it requires any scripting and your browser sends it out very early in the communication with each website you visit so that the website can deliver content to you that your browser / device can handle.

RE: "Wild inaccuracies. . ."
By melgross on 5/14/2013 9:59:42 AM , Rating: 2
The data is far better than what Microsoft gives us, which is nothing. They weight the data per country because we do know what percentage of people have computers country by country. We know what the breakdown is by Linux, OS X and Windows. We know the population of the country. And we know how Internet services are country by country.

So by using those, and possibly other factors, they can get a fairly accurate accounting. Sure, there will be one in a million who turn off some minor service such as you do, but that's such a small number, it gets lost in the noise.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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