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Microsoft Sells 40 Million Copies of Windows 8 in First Month

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Windows 8 is on track to beat Windows 7 in sales, but will the success last?

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Defying numerous skeptics, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has recently reported that its newest operating system Windows 8 has sold 40 million licenses so far. This is the biggest update from the company since announcing that the system had sold 4 million upgrades over its first weekend. Analysts were initially worried that the radical change in design of Window 8 would scare away consumers, but these numbers could be an indication that user adoption may go better than expected.

The number itself is huge, but what is more surprising is that Microsoft reports that Windows 8 is on track to "outpace" Windows 7 in sales at launch. Putting that in perspective, the Windows 7 upgrade was practically mandatory because of the poor design of Windows Vista, greatly fostering its adoption. However, Windows 8 has no such incentive, and considering how many content users are operating Windows 7 -- and the fact that Window 8 is an entirely new system -- it's a welcome surprise to Microsoft that the OS is doing so well.

Still, there are a few issues that need to be resolved before Windows 8 is trumpeted as a resounding success. For starters, Extreme Tech asks if Microsoft needs to reveal how many of those copies have actually been installed. Such a figure is necessary for investors to make sure that the OS is actually being used, and not just sitting on retailer shelves.

Multiple analysts are also interested in observing how well the OS will sell after its discount ends in January.

At the moment, it only costs $40 to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, but after the holidays that price will raise to $139, with scaled down versions available at a lower prices. Many believe this discount is crucial to the system's success, as it puts it in range of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) dirt-cheap OS prices. It's possible that when the price goes back up Windows 8 sales may slow to a crawl.

On a more positive note, few have complained about the bugs that Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) CEO Paul Otellini claimed would plague the system. Microsoft is making great strides in addressing an acknowledged app problem.

According to Tech Crunch, Windows 8 has pulled in three times as many app downloads as Apple's Mac Store. However, Windows 8 is only generating one-fifth the revenue because most of its apps are free. The number of apps available via the Windows 8 app store now sits at 20,000, surpassing Apple's 13,000 in its Mac Store, although Microsoft's offering is still dwarfed by Apple's entire app store, which has 700,000 apps -- and Google Play (NASDAQ:GOOG) which has 600,000.

In the end, investors might not want to react too dramatically to Microsoft's Windows 8 victory. Should Windows 8 maintain its pace after the holidays, Microsoft's OS transition will fare far better than anyone expected; if not, the company's 2013 could be just as bad as some are predicting.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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