Windows 8 hits 100 million sales

In its first six months, Microsoft has already sold 100 million Windows 8 licences.

Microsoft's new tablet called Surface was unveiled on June 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Picture: AFP.

SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses in the six months since its launch.

Microsoft aims to make a substantial update to the software so that it can be easier to use and compatible with smaller tablets.

Windows 8 is the first Microsoft operating system primarily designed for touch commands.

However it has failed to capture consumers' imaginations or make a dent in a tablet market dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

Tami Reller, co-head of Microsoft's Windows unit at the company's Redmond, Washington headquarters said last week, "We are being very real about what needs to change and changing it as thoughtfully and quickly as we can."

Reller said that Microsoft will be rolling out an update to Windows 8, code-named 'Windows Blue', by the end of this year. Details of the update will be released in the next few weeks.

Although Microsoft has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses since its launch on October 26 2012, it looks unlikely that the new system will see progressively rising demand, as Windows 7 did, hitting 240 million sales in its first year.

Microsoft's last Windows 8 sales update was in early January, when it broke 60 million, suggesting only around 40 million license sales in the last four months, well below Windows 7's average sales rate.

Windows 7 was helped by the fact that it replaced the generally unpopular Windows Vista.

Windows 8 has confused potential customers with its new-look 'tile'-based start screen and the omission of the traditional 'start' button.

Reller did not say whether the 'Blue' update would restore the start button, but she said Microsoft would pay more attention to helping customers adapt.

"We've considered a lot of different scenarios to help traditional PC users move forward as well as making usability that much better on all devices," she said.