Not too long ago we had full Microsoft earnings with no mention of Windows at all, but the resurgence of work from home brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has made people realise the value of a platform dedicated to productivity and has returned the Windows ecosystem to growth.
At Microsoft’s earning call yesterday the company revealed that the number of Windows 10 monthly active devices are up double digits year-over-year, across commercial, consumer, and education. This means if there was 1000 million Windows PCs in use in 2019, an additional 100 million came online, or for the more accepted 1.5 billion PC installed base an extra 150 million+ are now in use.
This growth has inspired Microsoft to double-down on the PC market, with Satya Nadella saying at their earnings call last night:
If anything, again, the last nine months or so have proven that when it comes to Windows and PCs, they become mission-critical because when it comes to remote learning, remote work and any type of activity and productivity, in particular, depends on having PCs and applications on PCs. So, we are doubling down on it.
That means, the innovation in Windows, and Microsoft 365 is the best way to conceptualize how we even think about Windows because it’s one surface area where we want to deliver our best payloads for productivity, communications, collaboration, business process.
And we’ll keep working even on the form function innovation as well. So, even if you look at the holiday lineup of devices, it’s great to see that, large screens, small screens, mobile, different chip architectures that make it pretty attractive to have a Windows device with you always. So, that’s how we look at it. It’s very important. I think, if anything, even mobile-only countries and mobile-only scenarios are recognizing that they also can do with some help with additional screens. And so, that’s something that we look forward to.
Breaking it down, Nadella is reviving the “best on Windows” idea again, after abandoning it when the dominance of mobile iOS and Android platforms was clear.
Secondly, Satya appears to be suggesting a return of mobile Windows in some form, presumably in the form of devices such as the Surface Neo, which would allow you to “have a Windows device with you always.” That is of course unless Nadella mistakenly believes the Surface Duo runs Windows.
It remains to be seen what Microsoft has in mind, but with reports that Microsoft plans to revamp the UI of Windows 10, it seems there is once again some fire in the Windows engine and some enthusiasm for the platform from Microsoft.
The full earnings call transcript can be read here.