Microsoft still faces criticism for its Windows 8 operating system, but despite that, the software giant has sold more than 100 million licenses in its first six months of availability, and important updates are on the way.

“Windows 8 is a big, ambitious change,” Microsoft CMO and CFO Tami Reller wrote in a blog post. “While we realize that change takes time, we feel good about the progress since launch, including what we’ve been able to accomplish with the ecosystem and customer reaction to the new PCs and tablets that are available now or will soon come to market.”

The 100-million milestone for Windows 8 is particularly important for Microsoft because its shows momentum even in an environment where PC sales are down. Back in January, Microsoft said it had sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses. At six months in, Windows 8 is actually keeping pace with Windows 7’s initial sales.

Reller also confirmed that the much-talked-about Windows Blue update to Windows 8 would arrive “later this year.” Windows Blue will likely be called Windows 8.1 or something similar, since Blue is simply a codename. Two things that have been rumored to be coming in Windows Blue are a boot-to-desktop option and a Start button on the desktop that takes you to the Start screen.

“[Windows Blue] will deliver the latest innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life, and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem,” Reller said. “It will provide more options for businesses and give consumers more options for work and play. The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT.”

In terms of delivering new form factors and sizes, the next thing we expect to see are cheaper 7-inch and 8-inch tablets running Windows 8 and Windows RT. Recently, Amazon accidentally leaked the first small-screen Windows 8 tablet, the 8.1-inch Acer Iconia.

Image via Microsoft

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