In August 2015, Microsoft revealed that the Windows Insider Program - its global community of enthusiasts and developers who help test versions of Windows 10 before they're more widely released - had grown to more than six million people. 24 days later, in early September, it said that that number had increased to over seven million.
But in the 18 months after that, it offered no further updates on that total; indeed, Neowin asked/pestered Microsoft's Dona Sarkar and Jeremiah Marble repeatedly on that subject throughout the company's NexTech Africa conference in February, but they would only say that the number was "way higher" than seven million. They weren't kidding.
In a blog posted on LinkedIn over the weekend, Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President for the Windows and Devices Group, revealed just how much the Insider community has grown:
We count over 10M Windows Insiders today, many of them fans, who test and use the latest build of Windows 10 on a daily basis. Their feedback comes fast and furious, they have a relentless bar of what they expect, but it so inspires our team and drives our very focus on a daily basis.
In the weeks and months ahead, the community is likely to grow further, and in a new direction, following Microsoft's announcement last month of the Windows Insider Program for Business. In a session on Windows 10 deployments at NexTech, Microsoft recommended that all SMEs and enterprise customers should aim to run Insider Preview builds on 1% of their systems in order to prepare for what's coming next in the OS.
The Windows Insider Program has come a long way since its launch in 2014. Microsoft originally intended for just 250,000 users to have early access to Windows 10 preview builds, but a week before its announcement of the program, it amended those plans to open it up to everyone who wanted to join. Last year, it revealed that there are Insiders in every country across the globe - including Vatican City (!) and Antarctica (!!) - with the exception of two unnamed nations.