Microsoft Windows got a boost due to the increase in cyberattacks, with a 21 percent jump in sales of Windows 10 licenses last quarter, mainly to corporate clients; a 21 percent lift in bulk sales of Windows licenses and cloud services; and an expected growth of 13 percent in the current quarter. Although Windows is the most widely used operating system worldwide, PC shipments have seen no growth, says International Data Corp. Instead, the Windows 10 sales indicate a widespread move to update older software versions.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to NetMarketShare, “some version of the operating system is on 88 percent of the world’s desktops and laptops connected to the web.” WSJ states that, almost 700 million devices, including PCs, tablets, Xbox machines and other devices, run Windowes 10, and “another 800 million devices [are] running older versions.”
The 2017 WannaCry and Petya attacks, which “locked digital files and demanded payment for them to be released,” impacted — and got the attention of — those with “older and inadequately patched” Windows versions.
Among those hit by cyberattacks of older Windows versions were the U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care, as well as “car factories in France, a law firm in the U.S. and elsewhere.” The Identity Theft Resource Center and data-security company CyberScout reported that, “the number of data breaches in the U.S. jumped 45 percent to 1,579 in 2017.”
The U.K.’s Department of Health and Social Care is currently upgrading to Windows 10, as is the Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles, which is “close to completing its upgrade of nearly 20,000 computers.” Cedar-Sinai’s chief information officer Darren Dworkin, who says he is worried about cyberattacks, notes, “there are more reasons now for wanting to keep current.”
Microsoft last registered such robust growth of its Windows operating system in 2001 for an upgrade cycle of Windows XP, when it “recorded 11 percent growth in sales” mainly to corporate customers. Many corporations continue to use Windows 7; Microsoft support for this version ends January 2020. “There’s not an easy replacement for the Windows PC,” said Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead.