Microsoft: Windows 8 passes 60 million licenses sold

However, the company acknowledges some miscalculations in availability and distribution of Windows 8 computers

Microsoft has sold more than 60 million [m] Windows 8 licenses so far, a number that is "roughly" in line with the performance of Windows 7 at the same stage of its release three years ago, according to Tami Reller, CFO and CMO of the Windows Division.

"We feel good about what we've been able to accomplish," Reller said on Tuesday at a presentation at the JP Morgan Tech Forum, adding that there is "so much more opportunity ahead."

There has been debate in the industry about the initial sales performance of Windows 8, which began shipping in October and features a radically redesigned user interface optimized for touch devices like tablets.

For example, NPD Group said in late November that the new OS had gotten off to a "slow start" among consumers.

Asked about this, Reller said that Windows 8 has been meeting Microsoft's sales expectations all along, and that the high level of demand specifically for touch devices with the new OS has "surprised a lot of people."

Unfortunately, that caused an initial shortage of such devices. "Frankly, the supply was too short," she said at the event which was held at the CES show in Las Vegas and where she answered questions from a JP Morgan analyst.

There were other distribution issues. "There was some misalignment between where products were distributed and where the demand was," she said.

Microsoft made adjustments, and is still making them, she said. Many Windows 8 tablets running x86 chips are just starting to hit the market, while some tablets running Windows RT -- the Windows 8 version fo ARM chips -- didn't get the type of distribution "that would have been ideal," she said.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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