Microsoft boasts 500 million active Windows 10 devices

(Image: © Microsoft)

Microsoft broke the ice at its Build 2017 developer conference in Seattle today by announcing that Windows 10 is now running on 500 million monthly active devices, The Seattle Times reports. That puts Microsoft halfway towards its original goal of reaching 1 billion Windows 10 devices by around the middle of 2018, a target it is likely to miss.

Microsoft revised that goal after coming to the realization that it would fall short. In July of last year, Microsoft blamed the setback on the focus it put on its phone hardware business, telling ZDNet "it will take longer than FY18 for us to reach our goal of 1 billion monthly active devices."

It now looks like it will take quite a bit longer, though Microsoft isn't down on itself. Citing unnamed sources who are supposedly familiar with Microsoft's plans, The Verge says Microsoft is shooting for 550 million monthly active Windows 10 devices by the end of June, and 575 million by the end of September.

Microsoft bases its figures on how many Windows 10 devices have been active in the past 28 days. That does not only include Windows 10 PCs, tablets, and phones, but also Xbox One consoles, HoloLens, and Surface Hub devices.

Reaching 1 billion devices is not an arbitrary number for Microsoft. Its lofty goal is in hopes of making Windows 10's footprint too large for developers to ignore with regards to creating Universal Windows Apps. This has been Microsoft's big push from the beginning, and also a point of concern among those who fear that it's trying to turn Windows 10 into a walled garden.

As it pertains to gamers, Microsoft has used its DirectX 12 API as a motivating factor to upgrade. DX12 is only supported in Windows 10. Beyond that, Microsoft has more recently sprinkled in some feature updates aimed at gamers, such as a Game Mode and native livestreaming support via Beam.

Microsoft has also taken steps to be more transparent over privacy issues in Windows 10. Despite lingering concerns, its efforts have been paying off among gamers—more than half of all Steam users are running Windows 10.