Ballmer: 500m will have Windows 8 next year

Steve Ballmer has predicted that 500m people will be using Windows 8 by the end of next year.

Ballmer: 500m will have Windows 8 next year

Update: Microsoft has since contacted PC Pro and said there was “some confusion in terms of wording,” saying the 500m figure includes “the Windows ecosystem as a whole”. We’re trying to get more clarity on the figures and will update again if we do.

The next version of the Windows OS is expected to arrive in October, with the Release Preview due next month.

Speaking at a conference in Seoul, Ballmer said Microsoft expects 350m PCs running Windows 7 to sell this year, with 500m people using Windows 8 next year – he didn’t say how many would be upgrades, new PCs or ARM tablets.

“It’s really, in some senses, a dawning of the rebirth of Microsoft Windows… It’s certainly the most important piece of work we’ve done,” he said, according to a report from AFP.

Analyst firm Gartner last month predicted Windows 8 would grab 12% of the tablet market next year, shipping five million devices, and said it expected global PC shipments of 363m this year.

Ballmer added that Skype for Windows 8 would be unveiled soon, following Microsoft’s $8.5bn acquisition of the VoIP software.

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