Microsoft: Windows 8 Preview Usage Up 2X From Windows 7 Beta

Microsoft launched its Windows 8 Consumer Preview at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona back in February. So far, the reactions to this first mainstream preview of Windows 8 have been somewhat mixed – not everybody is in love with the new Metro interface, for example – but it looks like that isn’t stopping people from spending a lot of time with the Windows 8 preview. Indeed, according to Microsoft, “millions of people” are already using the Windows 8 preview every day and overall usage of the preview is double of what the company saw at the same point in time after launching the Windows 7 beta.

Given that most Windows users are quite happy with Windows 7, that’s quite an interesting number. Maybe the change in name – from ‘beta’ to ‘consumer preview’ – at this stage in the development cycle gave more mainstream consumers the confidence to install Windows 8 and use it as their main operating system? If that’s true, then a comparison between the daily usage of the Windows 7 release candidate and the Windows 8 preview would actually be more interesting than this number.

It’s worth noting that Microsoft happily talked about the fact that it saw about 1 million downloads within the first 24 hours after it put the consumer preview online. It hasn’t released any new numbers since then beyond saying that “millions of customers” have downloaded it and now use it regularly (we actually asked Microsoft about this today and were told that the company doesn’t currently have any updated numbers to share).