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

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

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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.


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!

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  • Tami

    I have been a Microsoft user since the days of DOS and have always upgraded my home computer to the latest operating system.

    Until now I have been a big fan but Windows 8 has changed my mind, it is a DISASTER. Your rush to capture the tablet market has made you forget about the bread and butter desktop and portable market (as used in most companies in the world).

    I have a desktop PC with a high definition monitor, the “Windows Phone” front end is completely unsuited to use on a desktop and the lack of the Windows 7 start menu is ridiculous. I can only suggest your technical advisors were working for apple and wanted to make sure you had a lead balloon to sell.

    You could have made it work by offering users a choice of interface; so those of us without a touch screen and a monitor bigger than 7” can use a windows 7 system and those with tablets could have the phone front end. I think any half computer literate 10 year old could have figured that one out.

    All I can say is I hope you can make improvements soon as I for one will not be stopping with windows 8 in its present state. I will either go back to windows 7 or even bite the bullet and go Linux.

    You may put a brave face on this launch, but in reality is a nail in the coffin for Microsoft and Windows, but at least Google and Apple must be having a good laugh so as they say every cloud has a silver lining.

  • I recently published a little story with my experience with Windows 8, and some recommendations. Hope you find this useful:

  • Bvocal
    0 Posts

    I don't have a problem with change, but I dislike bad design, being a visual artist and designer and all. Regardless, I did a lot of research and thought before upgrading to windows 8. Even after being well prepared I still found the experience of windows 8 to be about the worst computing experience I have ever had, and that is saying a very lot... As I have been using them since 1991...

    I could almost make windows 8 work for me, almost, even though it drives me nuts in the head. But the real show stopper is the visual disaster caused by your removing aero. I know, sounds trivial, but it is not, not by a long long shot.

    The background plane of working comes in 3 colors, grey, black, white. With aero the window frame adapts, with windows 8 it has to be one, solid, flat color, no matter the color chosen, it ends up destroying the visual work environment.

    Please bring back aero, please, I beg you, what bad will it cause you? None. Please bring it back.

    Also, Tami, you are completely wrong about the future of computing. Tablets will not be all. Desktops will still be used for serious work. I have a desktop with 2 monitors, want 3 monitors... I always have at least 3 desktop applications open and bounce between them by the mouse click, how could I possibly do this with metro? Can't ....

    Real work needs the desktop environment.

    I can get a 100 times more done with my desktop than with my tablet. My tablet is fantastic for what it does best, my desktop is fantastic for what it does best. I had to ditch windows 8 and return to 7 because 8 can not be configured to work for me. I could go on, longer than most, with the problems with win 8, but I'm not going to type that much on a tablet, so I end now.

    Please bring back aero.


  • - she is both!

  • - thanks for stopping by and for the thoughtful comment!

    - sorry you ran into issues! Hopefully your issues are resolved. Were you able to get the new Office installed?

  • ChrisW
    0 Posts

    Y'know so many people don't like change.  Does it take some adjustment?  Yeah, it does. Just like learning how to navigate IOS or Android, it takes a little time - or maybe you guys just stay in one technology silo?  I am really starting to love it.  Especial mobile.  Even traded in my Android (had iphone before that) for a win 8 phone and LOVE it.  Way faster, more elegant, thoughtful, stable.  

    There are some drawbacks if you're an app freak.  But the Office 365 works beautifully between phone and my new (ish) windows 8 Asus touch/laptop hybrid.

    I am really loving the direction of the design.  Whoever is behind it is the first visionary in a long time in MS.  This is the beginning... I'm sure you remember how Apple's interface took a while to iron out kinks and develop.  

    I'm in no way some kind of MS fan - I've made the rounds and often had quite a bit negative to say about ... well lots of stuff.  I work with it all day.  I want it to make my life easier, that's it.  

    With a little adjustment, it does.  

    I hope they keep going in this direction. You guys need to chill out and keep an open mind.

  • Wow, isn't Windows 8 such a wonderful release!  Its just a "learning curve".  I guess the customer/victims of all this wonder are just stupid.  In reality, the Windows 8 UI is a nightmare of epic proportions and the only "learning curve"  needed is in Redmond.

  • Good article Brandon, my Windows8 experience has been from the install until early December I was on the phone twice a week or online in an attempt to solve issues.   It took a tech 3.5 hours until 1am to solve my issues.  I hope that no one else had to endure an install such as mine.  With all that said, I can't wait to see the how well Office 2013 and Win8 perform.

  • Sarah_Z
    0 Posts

    I am quite positive about windows 8 and been writing about it too, please browse for windows 8

    <a>Windows 8</a>

  • sara b
    0 Posts

    windows 8 is NOT user friendly...Its more like an obscenely oversized phone or a baroquely decorated gaming is in no way a usable computer operating system.  sorry gateway but I'm not keeping my new laptop, which is really nice, but I strongly dilike Windows 8

  • I hate Windows 8... I just bought a new laptop for my mother and I had to move everything from her old PC...  Boy...  I wasted an entire afternoon on Windows 8...  You cannot find anything anymore...  My mum is now afraid to use her computer..

    This product makes me want to move to Apple products.... it is the worse Windows ever!

  • jjbowles
    43 Posts

    Looks good.  Did you see my blog post?  I think would should combine your concept with some of my suggestions like the trash pinned to the task bar so it is always visible.  I think you should also borrow more form WindowsPhone.  For example, WP apps always have the three dots indicating that there is a menu there.  In Win8 there is no indication if you should swipe up, left, right, or down. Plus, the dots would give you a target for mouse users to click on.  

  • mkelley
    0 Posts

    Very informative.  Thanks Brandon!

  • Just had to find a place to vent. I bought and new computer and it had Widows 8 preinstalled. I have never been more disappointed in a system. Very complicated, can't find and thing.  Takes 3 time longer to do anything, nothing is compatible.  Windows 8 took he joy out of my computer and I long for the good old days of XP.

    Even moving a picture to the desk top is imposible and why cant it support a mail service?  

  • Windows Phone is really Genius designed - why is Win8 so different in so many Things? Where are The 3 dots hinting that there is a Menu hided, why those different tile Colors instead of 1 Color Theme?

    And why is there no Auto-detect for Touch or Mouse Input that Switches The ui?

    Why can't i use every win Funktion with The Touch ui?

    And why cant i Switch The Keyboard language form German to englisch on The Touch Keyboard? (like in wp7)

  • albasha
    0 Posts

    He, Brandon, is it possible to transfer my new win8 License to a new machine? Thanks

  • asdfghj
    0 Posts

    Зачем изобретать велосипед? Прежняя система работала как часы,всех удовлетворяла. Ещё одно осложнение от Microsoft.

  • Tami, do you not have proof readers at Microsoft? This is the most disjointed piece of writing I've read in a long time:

    "Windows 8 is a big, ambitious change – a set of innovation that together enabled a consistent experience across tablets and PCs."

    That makes absolutely no sense at all - just like Windows 8 makes no sense. It's a turkey, completely maddening to use and if you continue to peddle this awful OS, I'm afraid you will lose a lot more customers than you gain.

  • Karen F
    0 Posts

    I've been computing since card to file, remember when home computers did not have hard drives and worked from a C-prompt. I have been through many versions of Windows. I also own Macs. I have never been so fed up with Microsoft as I have been with Windows 8. This is a cute piece of interactive software if you want to work on a giant tablet or you have a 3 year old who wants to push buttons on a screen.

    If you are in business, I would advise you to stick with Windows 7. Windows 8 requires multiple clicks to get to where you need to be. It merges computing with tablet functions. It has cost my business multiple days of productivity. I am shipping my new computer back to Dell this week because of Windows 8. Also . . . . . WHERE IS THE DOCUMENTATION?????? For those of us who used to get new software, read the documentation and sit with an open book as we navigated it, I find it maddening to be surfing the Windows website and once again clicking all over the place to get a simple question answered. I don't want to watch a guy riding on a snowboard to show me that I have to swipe the right hand side of the screen. Loose the music and cute videos and give us the information we need to use your poorly designed software.

    Microsoft - sit up and pay attention to your users.

  • dougie
    0 Posts

    can anyone explain why internet explorer is so slow when accessed through your desktop.The app is fine but sometimes using the desktop is better. It is very very very very frustrating to wait at least 20 secs for a new page to load.Any help on getting this to work faster  or to know that this is a common problem would be appreciated


  • Eugen M
    0 Posts

    @jjbowles, im interested into some evidence of what is faster on windows 8 than windows 7, on boot times?

    Boot times in windows 8 cheat their way through, they dont shut down and they dont power on as win7 power off and on does, shutting down and starting up are actually a hibernation process instead, hence the faster boot times, which is a biased comparison as you are comparing full power off and on on win7 vs hibernation on windows 8.

    As for IE10, i have no comments.

  • jjbowles
    43 Posts

    Windows 8, although ill-conceived, is technically good.  It is fast and stable. In fact, I find it faster than Win7.  Plus IE10 runs better than Chrome does.  I suggest that all the disgruntled Win8 users keep Win8 but use one of the Start Menu replacements I mentioned in my blog posting above on this subject.  I am using the Pokki menu and it works very well.

  • Eugen M
    0 Posts

    @LeoIce, i dont think mac will take over just because 1 operating system is a UI disaster, true, the OS itself semms like it has been coded by brainless teenagers, however thats far from destroying an entire company like Microsoft, Windows vista (for other reasons) have failed too and yet Windows 7 made up for that, who knows maybe they will wake up and realise the slap that microsoft costumers have given them and implement the proper desktop back.

    It has nothing to do with learning curve, Windows 8 Desktop mode is far from beying anything close to a desktop, too many tablet/phone features are still present in desktop mode, that includes the "charm bar" and the infamous startscreen, theres nothing complex or rational about startscreen, its just eyecandy to attract costumers that cant see past pretty coloured rectangles and think objectively about its actual functionality.

  • Eugen M
    0 Posts

    @phip2816, lol you state that the other user who talked about it is uninformed and then you ask which features of desktop has been removed, win8 users like you pretend to be so undoctrinated for the sake of promoting the product that you own... theres a word for that im sure, you figure it out which.

  • LeoIce
    0 Posts

    Perhaps it's just me but I stayed with Microsoft Windows operating systems just because it's what I knew best. Growing with the different versions the basic principals of operation have always remained the same, UNTIL NOW. If I had known how difficult an operating system Windows 8 was and how at every turn I am being sold something, I would have bought a MAC learning the new system would have been the same without an antivirus. I do believe Apple finally have the edge on Microsoft.

  • Alf
    0 Posts

    I use windows 8 on an old Dell D630 laptop w/2GB RAM and it works well. Once you get to use it and know where things are. If you can't find what you want go to that "annoying" Start/metro screen and just start typing. It will find it for you. If it is something you use a lot, pin it to the Start screen or the desktop taskbar. I really like it. Also using Windows 2012. You go, Microsoft. I'm on your side.

  • @jjbowles  Specifically which Desktop features are missing?

  • jjbowles
    43 Posts

    @phip2816, Go read again.  There is some good discussion.  I never stated I didn't like Win8 like many on here, but I do think they pulled the desktop features prematurely for legions of corporate users. It comes down to choice and it has been taken away.

  • Windows 8 is the an absolute joy to use.  I have an older Toshiba Satellite duo core 64bit system with 4GB of RAM and my laptop's performance is better.  I verified this via the Windows Experience index.  My laptop is faster in Win 8 than in Win 7.  I forgot to mention that I partitioned my drive in order to install Windows 8 without disturbing my Windows 7 installation.

    jjbowles I reviewed your blog and found it to be the ranting's of an uniformed user.  You don't need a Start Button and when you use the desktop app it is every bit the same as previous versions of Windows only faster.

    Tami I believe you are right when you say that "the learning curve" is the biggest obstacle however I believe Windows 8 is intuitive enough for a willing mind to learn.  As with most NEW things many are against change and resist for awhile but they too will get on board.  To help my clients I have created a facebook page that is filled with Windows 8 tips that I create daily.

    The Windows store is growing and I have found a few nice apps.  My question to you is do you know if developers like Adobe, Autodesk and even Microsoft and their Office offerings have plans to develop Windows 8 Apps?

    Thanks for the update.

  • Windows 8_ If it was not bad enough to have installed windows 8, I cannot uninstall and go back to windows 7.

    My opinion after 2 months of use is that windows 8 is a F%#@*&ing piece of crap. I only wish I had not switch over. I am not a tech in computer, and really do not know how to get back. I only wish that MICROSOFT would provide us with a quick fix to go back to windows 7.  PLEASE HELP US


  • Eugen M
    0 Posts

    I do not understand how 2.26% (after 3 months of dirt cheap price) is good in the eyes of Microsoft, especially when Windows Vista is aproximately 5% userbase... unless they expected it to fail and are happy their expectations have been met then that comment for me at least doesnt make much sense.

  • gosnell
    0 Posts

    Brandon, is Tami both CFO and CMO at Microsoft? It's an unusual combination if so.

  • Torgeir
    0 Posts


    A few days ago I came home with a new ASUS laptop, with WIndows 8 preinstalled.

    Having grown up with all windows versions from the days of 3.1, through 98, 98SE, XP and Win7

    I was looking forward to another great upgrade.

    Boy, am I disappointed!

    Windows 8 is the most frustrating piece of s... I've ever worked with. As that irritating metro screen is popping up

    my heart rate is going into turbo mode, the frustration turns to anger and anger to this.

    WIndows 8 is the worse mistake Microsoft has ever done, basically kicking the professional users in the balls.

    The least you could do is making it easy to turn it back into something like Win7 or allow people to replace it with a free copy of WIn7

    Shame on you Microsoft, Shame shame shame.


  • jjbowles
    43 Posts

    Tami, how about this?

  • Hey, Brandon, how about adding a picture when doing a Q&A like this ? Thanks.