You may have heard that 30 million PowerPoint presentations are created each day. Anyone and everyone seems to be quoting that figure! And the amazing part is not that 30 million is a big number. What I find more interesting is the fact that this figure was suggested 12 years ago.
Frankly, this 30 million figure brings forth more questions than answers:
No one knows the answers to all these questions, and I certainly do not. Yet, this 30 million figure needs to have a source. Funnily enough, one site even credits me as a possible source for this figure! Even though I cannot take this credit, I do realize that it really does not matter what the exact figure may be. We all agree that an astronomical number of PowerPoint presentations are created and delivered each day -- and most of these presentations have slides that are not too awesome! Now that "awesome" part is something we can discuss some other time -- let us now get back to the 30 million figure.
Just for the sake of scale, let us believe that the older 30 million figure holds true for today! That would indicate that around 350 presentations are created each second! So maybe thousands of presentations are being created at the speed at which you read every single word within this article. Don't get scared -- these may still get created even if you don't read a single word!
Let us next explore retrospectively, and create a trail back to how this all started -- and who better than Robert Gaskins, the founder of PowerPoint to answer this question. On his site, I found this quote (on the home page):
After I left, others from the original team continued working and ten years later, by 2003, PowerPoint revenues for Microsoft exceeded $1 billion annually. By then PowerPoint was being used by over 500 million people worldwide, with over 30 million PowerPoint presentations being made every day.
He did mention the year, 2003 -- and a quick Google search bought up this PDF of a paper from Microsoft Research. The paper is dated October 2003 -- this was probably the first time that someone from Microsoft quoted the 30 million figure.
However this paper does credit their source to an article by Ian Parker called Absolute PowerPoint: Can a software package edit our thoughts? This article was published by The New Yorker in their May 28, 2001 issue (pages 76–87), and is still available in the archives at the New Yorker site. In this article, Ian Parker says:
According to Microsoft estimates, at least thirty million PowerPoint presentations are made every day
So who is Ian Parker? He became a staff writer for New Yorker in 2000, and has authored some amazing articles for the publication -- but I doubt if anything he has written has achieved the fame and status that his PowerPoint article did! I looked at his other articles, and those are more about literature, the arts, and even current affairs -- but not much about technology. Looked up on him online, and there's no contact info available on the New Yorker site -- also no Twitter handle! So there's only so much to assume: Parker started this 30 million "rumor" that has raged on for more than a decade. I call this a rumor because nothing or no one has substantiated this claim of 30 million, and although Microsoft somehow may have confirmed this figure by quoting 30 million PowerPoint presentations a few times -- it never bothered releasing an updated figure in the last 12 years?
Hopefully, we will learn more about these 30 million PowerPoints! Until then, have a great day making and showing cool slides!
Categories: opinion, powerpoint
Very good you came back to this question, Geetesh. It's indeed strange no further research was done on that, no statements from Microsoft. I saw using 30M figure on many places, none with better grounding than your article.
Leads one to extrapolate...
How many copies of PowerPoint have been sold since its first sales...
Average number of presentations done by each software owner...
April 2003 | May 2003 | December 2003 | January 2004 | February 2004 | March 2004 | April 2004 | May 2004 | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April 2005 | May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | May 2006 | June 2006 | July 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | November 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | February 2007 | March 2007 | April 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August 2007 | September 2007 | October 2007 | November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008 | June 2008 | July 2008 | August 2008 | September 2008 | October 2008 | November 2008 | December 2008 | January 2009 | February 2009 | March 2009 | April 2009 | May 2009 | June 2009 | July 2009 | August 2009 | September 2009 | October 2009 | November 2009 | December 2009 | January 2010 | February 2010 | March 2010 | April 2010 | May 2010 | June 2010 | July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November 2010 | December 2010 | January 2011 | February 2011 | March 2011 | April 2011 | May 2011 | June 2011 | July 2011 | August 2011 | September 2011 | October 2011 | November 2011 | December 2011 | January 2012 | February 2012 | March 2012 | April 2012 | May 2012 | June 2012 | July 2012 | August 2012 | September 2012 | October 2012 | November 2012 | December 2012 | January 2013 | February 2013 | March 2013 | April 2013 | May 2013 | June 2013 | July 2013 | August 2013 | September 2013 | October 2013 | November 2013 | December 2013 | January 2014 | February 2014 | March 2014 | April 2014 | May 2014 | June 2014 | July 2014 | August 2014 | September 2014 | October 2014 | November 2014 | December 2014 | January 2015 | February 2015 | March 2015 | April 2015 | May 2015 | June 2015 | July 2015 | August 2015 | September 2015 | October 2015 | November 2015 | December 2015 | January 2016 | February 2016 | March 2016 | April 2016 | May 2016 |
Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.