Microsoft has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since its debut Oct. 26.

Windows business, finance and marketing head Tami Reller said Windows 8 is outselling its predecessor, Windows 7, which sold slightly more than 60 million units during its first 10 weeks on sale at the end of 2009, Reuters reported. So far, she said, most of the sales are due to software upgrades rather than purchases of new PCs.

A Windows 8 upgrade costs $40, a full software package $70 and a new PC hundreds if not more than $1,000.

Reller did not reveal sales numbers for Microsoft’s new Surface tablet — the company’s bid to enter the raging tablet war.

The Surface, which also launched Oct. 26, is powered by Windows 8, an operating system designed with mobile devices in mind.

The Surface tablet is Microsoft’s best chance to steal customers from rival tablet providers, chiefly Apple which has been successful with its iPad, Amazon with its Kindle Fire and Google Inc.’s Nexus 7.

Windows 8 and the Surface tablet have received mixed reviews so far, despite the new touch-screen offered by Microsoft.

“Each tile on Start is connected to a person, app, website, folder, playlist, or whatever else is important to you,” the company website says. “Pin as many tiles to Start as you like and move them around so it’s just the way you want it. This isn’t the usual wall of static icons: Tiles animate with the latest information. Status updates, weather forecasts, Tweets, and more—you’ll see live updates before you even open a single app.”

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