Microsoft said Tuesday that about 1.4 billion users use Windows 10 or Windows 11 each month, providing a “powerful on-ramp” for the company’s own services.
“Three months later, and we’re excited about the response to Windows 11,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella said during the company’s fourth quarter 2021 earnings conference call with analysts. Microsoft said Windows OEM licensing revenue was up 25% from a year ago, due to the sudden surge in PC sales during the pandemic. Commercial PC licenses have contributed to the ramp-up, as they generate more revenue.
Nadella didn’t break down user numbers for Windows 11 and Windows 10, respectively, and he used odd metrics to describe Windows 11’s success. previous versions of our operating system,” Nadella said, whatever that means. Microsoft representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nadella said Microsoft Windows captured more market share this quarter, likely against Apple’s MacOS. Otherwise, however, he did not specify which operating system he was referring to.
Microsoft’s Surface device sales also benefited, rising 8% after two quarters of negative growth that compare poorly to strong sales at the start of pandemic-fueled 2020.
Overall, Microsoft’s More Personal Computing, also known as the consumer/PC business, grew 15% to $17.5 billion. However, as in recent quarters, it was Microsoft’s Azure cloud business that drove the revenue, with cloud services growing 46%. Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business grew more slowly at 26% to $15.9 billion. Revenue at Productivity and Business Processes, which houses Office, rose 19% to $15.9 billion. As a business, Microsoft reported profits that rose 21% from a year ago to $18.8 billion. Revenue also rose 20% to $51.7 billion.
Nadella also noted that Windows provides an “on-ramp” for Microsoft’s own proprietary and third-party services. Since adding coupons and price-tracking services to its Microsoft Edge browser, Microsoft has saved consumers $800 million, Nadella said. Edge is tightly integrated with Windows and does not easily allow users to choose another browser. This prompted competitors like Vivaldi to complain that Microsoft was locking users out on Edge. Microsoft is, however, testing versions of its browser that offer more choices.
In games, Microsoft said revenue rose 8%. Hardware revenue rose 4% as consumers chased the Series X and S consoles. Microsoft’s subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, has more than 25 million subscribers and saw record engagement during the last quarter, Microsoft executives said. Over 18 million users have played Forza Horizon 5and over 20 million have played Infinite Halo.
Microsoft also said that more than 270 million users actively use Teams per month. Teams is also tightly integrated into Windows 11, to the point that it will automatically load when your PC starts up, unless it’s blocked.
Updated at 4:38 p.m. with additional details.
As editor of PCWorld, Mark focuses on, among other things, Microsoft news and chip technology. He has previously written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK and ReadWrite.