updated 03:55 pm EST, Thu March 1, 2012
Windows 8 preview hits symbolic milestone
Microsoft quietly posted word Thursday afternoon that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview had hit one million downloads in a day. The figure is rare for a beta and roughly matches Apple's first-day Lion downloads. Microsoft didn't say how many were unique users.
The preview is helped primarily by the sharp break in design for the first time in almost two decades. Its Metro interface is the first Microsoft desktop interface genuinely optimized for touch and is a gamble that an entire interface borrowed and expanded from phones can work on conventional PCs. A traditional desktop exists, but only for x86-based PCs and mostly to support traditional apps when the new interface isn't an option.
Preview downloads won't necessarily translate to actual adoption. Traditionally, nearly all Windows upgrades have come through new PCs, not after-the-fact software sales. Many of the one million are also early adopters and niche users more likely to have systems that would work well for Windows 8, including tablets. Microsoft has promised that Windows 8 will run quickly, but few have touchscreens or are otherwise tuned to what the new OS will have.