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Back in April 2015, before Windows 10 was even available, Microsoft made a very bold goal: Windows 10 on 1 billion devices “in two to three years.” Now, just shy of the operating system’s one-year anniversary, Microsoft is admitting defeat, as first reported by ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley.

“Windows 10 is off to the hottest start in history with over 350M monthly active devices, with record customer satisfaction and engagement,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We’re pleased with our progress to date, but due to the focusing of our phone hardware business, it will take longer than FY18 for us to reach our goal of 1 billion monthly active devices. In the year ahead, we are excited about usage growth coming from commercial deployments and new devices — and increasing customer delight with Windows.”

In other words, Windows 10 Mobile isn’t playing its part. Microsoft was clearly counting on sales of devices running its latest and greatest mobile operating system to contribute to the 1 billion figure. But Windows phone sales have been abysmal every quarter — so abysmal that Microsoft has to backpedal on the timing for its overall Windows 10 goal.

Windows 10 was installed on over 75 million PCs in its first four weeks. It passed 110 million devices after 10 weeks, 200 million in under six months, 270 million after eight months, 300 million after nine months, and then 350 million after 11 months.


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The growth is certainly impressive — it’s faster than any other operating system, including Windows 7. But it’s not enough. And the crazy thing is that it’s only “not enough” because Microsoft made it so. Had the company not set the goal in the first place, the story would be “adoption is through the roof.” Instead, it’s “Microsoft failed to hit its goal.”

Microsoft’s free upgrade offer is ending this month, and as we’ve said before, the company should seriously consider extending it. Wouldn’t it be better to swallow the cost of more free upgrades and hit the target you so confidently proclaimed rather than simply give up two years ahead of schedule?

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