This article was published on May 10, 2013

This week at Microsoft: Blue, Windows 8, and Android dollars

This week at Microsoft: Blue, Windows 8, and Android dollars
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

It’s Friday, friends, and that means we afford ourselves the moment to read up on what Microsoft got itself into during the last seven days. It’s been a heavy week for news on and about the company, so we’ll move quickly, hitting on a number of topics.

Before we dive in, however, double-check that you are following TNW’s Microsoft channel on both Twitter and Facebook, as you certainly do not want to fall behind. Now, let’s get started.

100 Million

Microsoft has sold 100 million Windows 8 licences, up 40 million from the January 9th benchmark of 60 million. The rate of growth for Windows 8 has slowed, as expected, when the promotional pricing period for upgrades to the new operating system expired.

According to Microsoft’s Tami Reller, the vast majority of the 40 million freshly sold copies of the OS shipped on new computers. Here’s the lay of the land: Microsoft wants to lower the price gap between touch-based Windows 8 machines and non touch-based Windows machines. Doing so will get more folks using Windows 8 in a touch environment, which is a material benefit for Microsoft.

Why might that be? Because the Start Screen is a fantastically better experience when you can interact with it directly, instead of relying on a conduit of mouse and keyboard. Thus, in touch, people are likely more inclined to use the darn thing.

That means more app downloads, and the like, precisely what Microsoft, and Windows 8, need.

Smart Device Share

Windows still dominates the PC market, with Apple retaining a meaningful, if minor share. However, if you stack together notebooks, tablets, and smartphones, how does it fare? You will note that those three product categories exclude desktop PCs, a Microsoft staple. Still, under the rubric of mobile smart devices, what is the market share breakdown?

According to Canalys, as reported by TNW’s Emil Protalinksi:

In Q1 2013, 308.7 million smart mobile devices shipped worldwide, representing a year-on-year growth of 37.4 percent. Breaking down those numbers by operating system, Google’s Android dominated with 59.5 percent share, followed by Apple’s iOS and OS X at 19.3 percent share, and Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Phone at 18.1 percent share.

Tack on desktop PCs to that mix, for all providers where relevant, and Microsoft likely would have taken the second place spot. Still, Google’s Android dominance is well illustrated by the figure. If you didn’t understand why the Surface and Windows Phone 8 projects mattered to Microsoft, you now do.

Windows Blue: June, For Developers

Developers will get their hands on Windows Blue by the end of June. This was expected. Different versions of the operating system have been floating on various torrent websites, so interested developers can get an early peek, if they are so inclined.

Expect that the code goes out around the time of Build, Microsoft’s next developer conference, which will be held in San Francisco on June 26. Given that that date is towards the end of the month, well, let’s just say that if you leave the shindig without a copy of Windows 8.1, we’ll know who to blame.

Android Loot

Microsoft makes meaningful income from the Android device ecosystem. By signing licensing deals with Android OEMs for – in its view – infringing on its patents, it collects a payment on each device sold by the new partner. After years of deal making, more than 80% of Android smartphones sold in the United States pay the fee.

What does that tot up to? TNW went through a bit of mathmagic, which I quote here:

We can now do the math: 860 million Android devices in 2013, of which 65% pay Microsoft a fee, and that fee being $3 leaves Microsoft with $1.677 billion in Android revenue this year. That works out to just over $400 million per quarter, which fits with our earlier statements of Android patent revenue being in the low hundreds of millions.

Gartner expects 1.5 billion Android devices sold in 2017. Assuming that Microsoft can up its total percentage of devices under contract, and the sums involved could rival other business segments for Microsoft.

Go have a nice Earl Gray and start weekending, that’s enough news for the day.

Top Image Credit: Pete Brown 

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