Windows 11 is closing in on half a billion active users, blowing past Microsoft's expectations

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / Wachiwit)

It seems that Windows 11 has been far more successful for Microsoft than we’ve been let on to believe, if some new rumor mill rumblings are true.

A report from Windows Central revealed that “Windows 11 is now in use on over 400 million monthly active devices,” and will most likely reach the half-billion mark by 2024. The OS has been around since 2021, meaning it has taken roughly two years to hit this milestone. Compared to Windows 10, which had a higher market share in two years and currently holds a much higher share now, Windows 11 is clearly trailing behind.

Considering the differences between launches, it’s far more understandable why. Windows 10 was first launched as a limited free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8, pressuring users to hurry and convert before the free year was up. Windows 11 was a far calmer launch that only supported a comparatively small amount of PCs (thanks to TPM), which led to a more sluggish adoption rate.

The report states that Microsoft’s internal expectations had been set rather modestly as a result, leading to Windows 11 consistently exceeding the tech giant’s user base goals. This has also been aided by the ‘Moments’ updates, which supplied new features to users at a much faster rate.

TechRadar reached out to Microsoft concerning the report and will update this story once we’ve received an official statement.

Windows 12 could be the future 

Despite how long it took to get there, 400 million users is still quite the achievement and Windows 11 could have easily done far worse. However, it’s easy to consider how much higher those numbers could have been if it hadn’t been for the various missteps involved with the OS.

There’s hope that Windows 12 is on the horizon, thanks to it recently being all but confirmed by Intel’s chief financial officer, David Zinsner, when he referred to it as the “Windows refresh” coming in 2024. Once Microsoft officially announces it, it’ll be a chance for a fresh start with a brand new OS that could end up as the next Windows 10.

A sign of that direction could be what’s seemingly a return to Microsoft’s software roots. Considering that the Surface Event 2023 was far more focused on software rather than hardware and that the event was preceded by Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay’s high-profile departure from the company, there’s certainly some precedent in that.

Then there’s the fact that Microsoft’s current CEO, Satya Nadella, is more of a software person, as his career before then had mainly been in Microsoft’s cloud computing and online services teams. He could be repositioning the tech giant towards strengthening its software, which could lead to a much improved Windows 12 and beyond.

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Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.