He thinks 500 million people will be using it next year.
At least that's what he was blustering about in a speech at the Seoul Digital Forum on Tuesday, reports AFP.
Just to give you some context, Windows 7 was one of Microsoft's most successful operating systems in the past decade. It took nearly two years for Microsoft to sell the first 450 million Windows 7 licenses. And that was pretty darn good. By the end of 2011, Microsoft said it was firing up some 633,000 Windows 7 licenses PER DAY (compared to 335,000 licenses per day for Vista over the same period).
Companies are still just getting around to buying Windows 7, too -- in droves. In 2012, Ballmer says Microsoft will sell another 350 million Windows 7 licenses.
To reach half a billion users in one year, Microsoft would need to convince its core customers -- enterprises -- that they want Windows 8 right away and that's just not going to happen.
Windows 8 will make companies nervous. It is an attempt to turn PCs into combo gadgets -- a laptop and tablet in one. Microsoft already tried that with Windows 7, mind you, (think the Dell Inspiron Duo Tablets and the HP TouchSmart). But this time, Microsoft is trying this oddball approach. Windows 8 is two operating systems in one. Windows 8 has a new Metro interface plus the old Windows interface but traditional Windows apps won't always be able to run in Metro mode and vice versa.
Companies have learned to not move to new Microsoft operating systems until it rolls out the first big big update, known as service pack 1, which often doesn't happen until about a year after the new operating system is released. It isn't until that point that they feel safe that the big bugs have been found and fixed and that the OS has been tested to work with their most important business apps.
UPDATE: Microsoft PR contacted us to clarify. Ballmer was talking about the number of Windows 7 PCs that COULD upgrade to Windows 8 -- half a billion, based on the number of Windows 7 licenses sold as of December, 2011, PR explained.
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