Official: Windows 10 has hit the 400 million device mark

Pro version accounts for growing share of business PC sales

Microsoft’s self-installing Windows 10 operating system has reached the 400 million mark, the firm announced at its Ignite conference in Atlanta this week, up from the previous high of 350 million in August.

This adoption rate means the firm’s self-imposed target of a billion devices by mid-2018 looks increasingly unlikely, but the Redmond giant can take some consolation in the fact that business enthusiasm seems to be growing.

The latest version of Windows hit its one-year anniversary on July 29, a date that also marked the ending of the free upgrade offer period for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

As El Reg pointed out at the time, this meant that Microsoft now faces the challenge of trying to get people to pay for Windows 10, which is tough if users weren’t convinced enough of its merits to upgrade for free already.

Nevertheless, 350 million devices in one year is better than where previous versions of Windows were at the same point in their lifecycle, helped no doubt by Microsoft’s helpful approach of automatically downloading it and upgrading your PC without you having to bother doing this yourself.

But there are signs that businesses and professional users at least are keen on Windows 10, with European IT market research outfit Context reporting that Windows 10 Pro adoption is on the rise.

Context said that Windows 10 Pro accounted for a quarter (24 percent) of Windows Business PCs sold through distributors in Western Europe during August, up from 18 percent in July and 16 percent in June.

However, this means that Windows 7 still remains the business platform of choice, and August’s figures from NetMarketShare show that Windows 7 is still the largest operating system in use overall, accounting for just over 47 percent of computers accessing the web.

But the researchers expect that European business spending on Windows 10 could pick up even further towards the end of this year, helping to drive “a modest improvement” in overall PC sales for the second half of 2016, compared to that seen in the first half of the year.

Windows 10 Pro is a step up from the basic Windows 10 Home that many consumer PCs ship with, and includes key added capabilities such as the ability to be joined to a corporate Active Directory Windows domain.

However, Redmond cheesed off many business users earlier this year when it retroactively removed from Windows 10 Pro a feature that enabled admins to restrict access to the Windows Store, and thus control what apps users can install.

The move was portrayed by many as an attempt to upsell businesses to the Windows 10 Enterprise edition, which is only available through volume licensing deals. ®

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