Today, Microsoft released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018, and despite continued growth from Windows 10 and the More Personal Computing category as a whole, Windows 10 is still not installed on 700 million active devices. According to CEO Satya Nadella during the earnings call, it's still nearly 700 million.
We first heard that Windows 10 is on nearly 700 million devices back in March, in former Windows chief Terry Myerson's farewell letter. Microsoft almost said it was over 700 million at Build, and then rolled it back. In June, the company actually did announce that Windows 10 is on over 700 million devices, and later said that was an accident. In short, this is a mess.
But what's even more curious about this is what Microsoft actually means by "nearly". After all, we've been at nearly 700 million devices for almost four months, so growth of the OS install base is either completely stagnant, or Microsoft has been very loose with the word "nearly".
When Windows 10 was first introduced, Microsoft said that it planned to have the OS installed on over a billion devices within two to three years. The company retracted that promise a year later, saying that it won't achieve the goal, but the three years will be up in 10 days. It would seem that when Windows 10 turns three years old, there's still going to be a confusing mess around whether it's installed on 700 million active devices.
Unfortunately, Microsoft isn't very transparent about these types of things. It's not like we can go and check how many active devices are actually running Windows 10, so we'll just have to wait for a formal announcement when it happens, and hope the company doesn't roll back that announcement.