Has Microsoft Crossed the Line Between Dream and Reality?

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) may be launching Windows 8 this year, but the computer giant also has big plans for Windows 7. The company has announced that it predicts 350 million Windows 7 devices will ship by the end of 2012.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned the exact figure of 350 million devices at a forum in Seoul, South Korea, this weekend. Ballmer announced that the number indicates that Windows is the most popular single system. Windows 7 launched 18 months ago, and Windows remains the most popular operating system for many years now.

While Microsoft may have sold approximately 350 licenses, it does not necessarily indicate the number of devices sold. That figure could also include some licenses that were used to upgrade software for existing machines. However, Microsoft is still seeing strong Windows 7 adoption, with the adoption rate for the operating system up 40 percent globally.

Windows 8 is rumored to hit shelves in October, but predicted launch dates for operating systems are always scheduled for change. The new operating system will support tablets and other mobile devices. Microsoft is hoping to see Windows 8 move strongly into the tablet market amid rivals Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

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