Windows 8 at 90 days: Q&A with Tami Reller

As we’ve said on many occasions, Windows 8 represents a big, ambitious change for Windows and for Microsoft. We built Windows 8 for the next generation of computing – setting out to eliminate the boundary between PCs and tablets.

And we’re just getting started!

It’s been a little over 90 days since Windows 8 reached general availability (GA) so naturally people are asking: how is Windows 8 is doing? I thought the best way to address this would be a Q&A with our Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller to share context and our point-of-view. So here we go…

Brandon LeBlanc: We announced in early January that Windows 8 has sold more than 60 million licenses. How does that compare to previous versions of Windows?

Tami Reller: More than 60 million licenses sold is on par with the record setting pace we saw with Windows 7. We feel good about our start with Windows 8 – and of course there is still much more to do.

Brandon LeBlanc: Microsoft has made a big deal about touch being super important in breaking down that boundary between PCs and tablets. Can you tell us a little a bit about how receptive customers have been to touch devices with Windows 8?

Tami Reller: Touch is a key component of Windows 8 as it enables devices to unlock even more of the benefit of Windows 8. From tablets, to touch laptops, to all-in-one PCs, customer interest in new touch form factors is increasing. To meet this interest, we’ve been working with our partners to ensure that we have products to meet customer demand. Together, we’ve made progress and the trajectory of touch devices continues to grow. Partners are working hard to bring stunning innovation to market across a broad spectrum of tablets, convertibles, touch laptops & Ultrabooks, and all-in-one PCs. And, for traditional PCs, Windows 8 PCs are the best PCs ever – faster, more efficient, better battery life, and access to the ever-growing lineup of Windows 8 apps in the Windows Store. Watch for some great new products on shelf this spring!

Brandon LeBlanc: You mentioned Windows Store apps, what kind of momentum have we seen with the Windows Store since its grand opening back in October?

Tami Reller: Since the grand opening of the Windows Store on October 26th, the number of apps has more than quadrupled. App downloads are strong as we recently passed the 100 million app download mark – just two months after GA. We have seen double digit growth in people visiting the Windows Store week over week since October.

The way we look at apps is important – we want to make sure customers have the apps they want and use most frequently and we feel good about our trajectory for adding even more high demand apps in the Store. We also think about making sure we have the right apps by geography and we want apps that are committed to the customer experience, frequently updating and making the app constantly better.

Another unique element with the Windows Store approach is we allow app builders to use their own commerce engines and keep up to 100% of their profits for in app sales. App builders who are taking advantage of this include: Amazon, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Zinio, and Magzster. PayPal also announced plans to release an SDK so that developers could use their service for in app purchases as well.

Brandon LeBlanc: Windows 8 is a big change for our customers. The “learning curve” is a continued discussion out in the community. How are customers responding?

Tami Reller: Windows 8 is a big, ambitious change – a set of innovation that together enabled a consistent experience across tablets and PCs. To make sure this product was ready for our customers, we had 1.24 billion hours of active usage time from people during our previews. By the time we hit GA, we had usage in almost every single country, making this the most tested release of Windows ever. Based on what we’ve learned, we are finding that people are successfully and quickly learning Windows 8 and their usage gets richer and stronger over time. They get started with success. Fifty percent of users get through the out of box experience in less than 5 minutes. On the very first day, virtually everyone launches an app from the Start screen, finds the desktop, and finds the charms. Almost half of users go to the Windows Store on that first day.

After two weeks, the average person doubles the number of tiles on Start. Live tiles engage people with content – by early January we had already delivered over 45 billion unique live tile updates. People find the new features in the context of what they are trying to do, and incorporate them into their everyday use after finding them. It is great to see people quickly find their way around Windows 8, exploring it, making it their own, across what they used to do and all of the new features.

Brandon LeBlanc: What is next?

Tami Reller: This is an exciting time in Windows and there’s a lot of energy around the work we’re doing. From our ongoing updates to the OS to our work with partners to deliver the devices customers want to see in market, there has never been more opportunity ahead. We’re expanding our opportunity from the PC market to the broader device market across tablets plus PCs. With Windows 8, we’ve built an OS that scales across the entire segment: tablets, to PCs to everything PCs can become, with one consistent scalable experience. Windows 8 is a big, ambitious change and as I said, we’re only just getting started.

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Special thanks to Tami for taking the time to answer questions about where we are with Windows 8. We are excited to see new touch devices hit the market with Windows 8 and even more apps hit the Windows Store in the coming months!