Despite reports that Windows 8's adoption is falling short of expectations, Microsoft says it's sold 40 million licenses for the new OS. There's no word on how many of those licenses apply to pre-built Windows 8 systems rather than separate software sales, but the demand for upgrades appears to be strong. According to Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Tami Reller, Win8 upgrade sales are outpacing those of Win7.
To be fair, Windows 8 upgrades are cheaper. Until January 31, you can move an existing Windows install to the latest version for only $40. Windows 7 upgrades dipped as low as $50 for Home Premium and $100 for Professional versions of the OS, but those prices were associated with a limited-time offer that lasted only two weeks. Consumers have a lot more time to cash in on discounted upgrades this time around, and some early adopters may be in no hurry to upgrade as a result. The longer discount window has allowed me to put off upgrading my own desktop system to Windows 8.
Of course, Windows 8 has considerably more appeal for tablets and convertible notebooks than it does for desktops. There are loads of touchscreen-equipped Win8 notebooks out in the wild right now, but the selection of tablets and convertibles remains thin and largely limited to ARM-based Windows RT devices that can't run traditional x86 software. The situation should improve as more Win8 systems roll out in the coming weeks and months, but I'm surprised the tablet options are so limited a month after the OS's release.
Ars Technica points out that Windows 7 sold 60 million copies in the ten weeks after its release, 40 million of which were attributed to the first month. Windows 8 appears to be on track to match the success of its predecessor, at least, but that doesn't mean it's meeting Microsoft's expectations.