Kicking off Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), a four-day event that celebrates the accomplishments of the company's 640,000 global partners, CEO Steve Ballmer today said that Windows 7 is the fastest-selling operating system in history.
Ballmer said more than 400 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold in less than two years, and that the best way to prepare customers and prospects for the future is to move all customers to Windows 7.
Echoing that point, Tami Reller, corporate vice president and chief financial officer of Windows and Windows Live, emphasized that Windows 7 is the path to Windows 8. Noting that there are still more than 200 million PCs running Windows XP, which was launched in 2001, Reller told partners they have a real opportunity to deliver more value to customers in the short term and "set them up for the future."
In providing an overview of the road ahead with Windows, Reller told Microsoft's partners that despite the record growth and success of Windows 7, there is tremendous Windows 7 deployment opportunity now and well into the future. "We see a future with a heterogeneous enterprise environment of Windows 8 devices and apps alongside Windows 7 PCs and apps," she said.
"At the heart of our ability to deliver Windows 8 is the flexibility Windows has consistently shown; its ability to adapt over time is what ensures Windows will continue to be highly relevant in the future," Reller added.
Reller also announced the beta of the next release of Windows Intune for cloud-based PC management and security. Windows Intune gives Windows customers access to the latest, premium version of Windows plus PC management and security in the cloud. This release includes top feature requests and usability improvements:
- Software distribution: With this release, administrators can deploy most Microsoft and third-party updates or software applications to PCs virtually anywhere, without the need for a server infrastructure or physically touching each PC to install the software or update.
- Remote Tasks: This update allows IT to perform tasks, including full scan, quick scan, restart, and update malware definition all from the administration console. If there is an alert for a malware threat for example, administrators can run a scan on the affected PC by simply right-clicking on the PC from the administration console.
- Read-only Access: IT pros and partners can grant select administrators read-only access to the administration console so that they can view PC information as needed, but not perform any tasks.
The limited, public beta is available at http://technet.microsoft.com/windows/intune.
Ballmer also said that in less than two weeks after the official launch of Office 365, more than 50,000 organizations are trialing the service. He said that more than one in five of the Fortune 500 uses Microsoft Online Services and large organizations worldwide are moving to the cloud-based service, including the American Red Cross, which will move 66,000 people to Office 365 by the end of this year, and Softbank Technology Corp. in Japan, which moved to Office 365 to help reduce its overall technology maintenance costs.