Microsoft today announced that Windows 10 has been installed on more than 1 billion (yes, with a "b") active devices around the world since its release in July 2015.
The company said that "over one billion people have chosen Windows 10 across 200 countries resulting in more than one billion active Windows 10 devices." We're a little suspicious about the one-to-one ratio Microsoft cited, and the company's decision to say those people "have chosen Windows 10," but it's still an important milestone.
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Of course, it probably didn't hurt that Microsoft officially dropped support for Windows 7 in January. That change forced Windows 7 users to decide if they would use an unsupported operating system, upgrade to Windows 10 or switch to another platform. Upgrading to Windows 10 was probably the path of least resistance.
Windows 10's growth can't all be attributed to Windows 7's demise though because the operating system was already approaching the 1 billion active user mark. It reached 700 million users in September 2018, 800 million users in March 2019 and 825 million users in May 2019. Now it's found another 175 million in less than a year.
Its breadth helps in that regard. Microsoft said that "Windows 10 is the only operating system at the heart of over 80,000 models and configurations of different laptops and 2-in-1s from over 1,000 different manufacturers." It's also found in the company's Mixed Reality platform and Xbox consoles, and a version of it, Windows 10X, will be in upcoming foldable devices.
Windows 10 will only continue to branch out from there. Microsoft said:
"Reaching a billion people with Windows 10 is just the beginning. We will invest in Windows not only within Windows 10 for PCs but also across many other Windows editions, serving diverse customer needs including Windows IoT, Windows 10 Teams edition for Surface Hub, Windows Server, Windows Mixed Reality on HoloLens, Windows 10 in S mode, Windows 10X and more."