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Windows 7 Hits 350 Million Licenses

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A year and a half after its commercial debut, Windows 7 has passed a new threshold.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced Friday, April 22, which was the 18-month anniversary of its release, that the company has now sold some 350 million licenses for the system — helping Windows 7 retain its ranking as the fastest-selling operating system in PC history.

The announcement came in a post regarding the anniversary on Microsoft’s Windows Blogby spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc.

In late January, Microsoft officials said the company had sold 300 million Windows 7 licenses, which helped to drive its second fiscal quarter revenues and earnings records.

At that time, the company told analysts that 20 percent of the installed base of PCs worldwide were running the system. Additionally, it said that 90 percent of enterprises had already begun migrating to Windows 7.

“The momentum we’ve seen and continue to see with Windows 7 is incredible. We are seeing good momentum with Internet Explorer 9 as well,” LeBlanc’s post said. The implication, of course, is that the newness of the recently-updated browser, which just shipped a month ago, may rub off on Windows 7’s popularity, helping to drive sales even higher.

Indeed, Windows 7 has been a money factory since it first launched, helping Microsoft to post record financial numbers for the 2009 holiday season, its first quarter on the market.

Additionally, earlier this month, Web analytics firm StatCounterannounced that Windows 7 had finally outstripped Windows XP.

XP had been on the market for nearly a decade and was, by far, the most installed version of Windows until Windows 7 arrived.

By some counts, in fact, XP is still out ahead of Windows 7.

For instance, another Web analytics firm, Net Applicationscurrently rates XP as holding 54 percent of PC OS usage, while it gives Windows 7 a 24 percent share.

By contrast, however, it only rates Vista with 11 percent.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has demonstrated some features coming in Windows 8 — and other details, particularly a 3D user interface on 64-bit systems, have leaked out. However, Windows 8 is not expected in commercial release until late 2012.

Microsoft is preparing to announce its third fiscal quarter 2011 revenues and earnings after the financial markets close next Thursday, April 28.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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