AAPL Stock: 118.94 ( + 1.13 )

Printed from

Ballmer says 400m Windows 7 copies sold, belittles Mac

updated 03:35 pm EDT, Mon July 11, 2011

Windows 7 hits 400m milestone but

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer used his Worldwide Partners Conference keynote on Monday to tout Windows 7's success while trying to downplay the success of the Mac. The most recent OS had now reached 400 million licenses sold, up from 350 million in the winter and still growing faster than XP. He added that there were 350 million new PCs sold in the past year and used the large number, without comparing gains, to argue that Microsoft had no reason to worry about the Mac or Linux.

"350 million, 350 million new PCs sold," Ballmer said. "That might compare with numbers from other guys that are in the 20 million range... now, 20 is too much, but 350 the last time I checked is a lot more than 20."

The majority of those were from Apple, which sold 15.25 million in the past 12 months. Much of the rest is believed to involve Linux and a handful of other open-source distributions.

While an important factor for context, the data also belies the rate of growth seen on each side. Apple stressed in its most recent results that the Mac had been outgrowing the overall computer market every quarter for the past five years and, this year, has been growing even as the field has been shrinking. Microsoft saw a four percent decline in Windows revenue at the start of the year, in part because of a 40 percent drop in netbook revenue as users stopped buying netbooks and bought iPads instead.

The company's Windows marketing lead Tami Reller also acknowledged that corporate adoption wasn't as quick as in the home space. About two thirds of work PCs already in use, or 300 million, were still using the now decade-old Windows XP, she said.

While she didn't provide an explanation, companies are often very conservative with purchasing habits and will wait years for an OS and necessary apps to be established before upgrading. Windows Vista and 7 created more resistance than usual owing both to the negative initial word-of-mouth for Vista as well as compatibility issues that came to a head with 7, which has an XP virtualization mode to placate many of the businesses still running apps made during or before XP's lifetime.

On Windows Phone, Ballmer was more candid and acknowledged the lack of movement in spite of the complete platform reboot. "We've gone from very small to very small, but it's been a heck of a year," he said.

by MacNN Staff



  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So Ballmer has been reduced to being indistinguishable from a typical anti-Mac troll?

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Head in the sand?

    Microsoft still has a license to print money with Windows, and Balmer is entirely right that the number of Windows licenses sold is drastically larger than all Macs, Linux boxes, and iOS/Android tablets combined.

    That said, when your sales are flat or declining, and your competitor's traditional computer sales have been rising steadily and substantially every single year for the past half a decade, it's not exactly something you should be ignoring.

    But what Balmer should actually be afraid of is that what appears to be the direction modern computing is heading--mobile and tablets--Microsoft doesn't even have a horse in the race, and their competitors' sales have been skyrocketing. Cumulatively, Android and iOS devices are now outselling Windows 7 (plus Windows 7 Phone, but nobody is even using that), which should be frightening to MS, if they're paying attention. That iPads have already reached about 10% of the rate of Windows devices in under two years should be even scarier.

    MS will be able to count on a steady stream of Corporate buyers for the foreseeable future, but when your userbase is so conservative that most of them are still using a decade-old product that doesn't bode well for long-term revenue.

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    tsk tsk

    Microsoft truly has "no reason to worry about the Mac or Linux" the day they mention neither in any of their advertising. I don't get why at these things no one asks about the hypocrisy in his words when their mobile strategy is tanking so badly. Or, if only numbers matter, why they even bother developing any software at all for Mac OS X.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MS May Not Have A Horse In The Race ...

    ... but they certainly have the back half of a horse in the race.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    iOS 5 will be PC free. You can email, surf the web, manage photos, print, type letters, etc. without a PC. iCloud will even back up all your stuff too.

    It'll be interesting to see how many casual users (and I know plenty) realize they don't need anything beyond an iPad just decide not to replace the old PC.

  1. facebook_Timothy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011


    As Long As

    As long as Apple continues to tie its operating system to its own hardware, yes, Microsoft has nothing to worry about. Aside from the Zune and XBOX, Microsoft is a software company; they could care less whether you're installing Windows on a no name beige box or as a virtual box on a top-of-the-line MacPro. Either way, they make their money on selling Windows.

    Apple, on the other hand, has never been about numbers. It's about the user experience, and the number of end users who are willing to pay a premium for that experience will always be lower than those who just want a bare bones PC.

    Should the day come (if it comes at all) Apple decides to license its software for use on hardware other than its own, that is the day Microsoft needs to worry about.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    corporate fat, stupid statement

    It continues to amaze me that corporations and governments continue to pay Microsoft for the SOS product line. I wonder how many of those 400M W7 licenses were part of existing volume license agreements and how many of those were actually installed. If your license says you can have 10K W7 clients, they are all under the same activation code so Microsoft doesn't necessarily see how many are actually installed and running. You also can't calculate how much money this has brought in because some of these are from PCs where Dell/HP might only have to pay Microsoft a few dollars, others are from volume agreements and probably only a few are from people who paid anywhere near retail.

    "We've gone from very small to very small, but it's been a heck of a year," This statement shows Ballmer knows Microsoft is in trouble and any analyst worth anything will take this as Microsoft being flat and not a growth stock of any kind and a poor investment.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    talk all you want Ballmer

    if Gates wasn't your buddy, you'd be just another used car salesman or a GOP shill peddling inane talking points.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why didn't he mention

    all the revenue Microsoft is receiving from all the Android phone sales?? It's making more for them than WP7, why wouldn't he mention it??


    - Sent from my Android Device.

  1. xmattingly

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Simplification for a simple mind

    This is another fine example of Ballmer living in a cave. I can generalize and spin the numbers too. It was recently discovered that Apple makes 7x more profit off Mac sales than HP does on PC's. Assuming ALL PC makers average $50 a sale, wIth a simple formula you could say $50 x 350 = 17,500, and Apple would be $350 x 20 = 7000. In other words, Apple may only have 5% of all PC sales, but they rake in OVER ONE-THIRD of all PC profits. Additionally, PC profits have to be divided up between MS and their vendors.

    Is Ballmer additionally oblivious to the fact that Apple's stock price is over $350, and MS' hovers somewhere around $25?

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented