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Gates: Windows XP Off to a Fast Start

Windows XP started out of the gate with a bang, selling more than 7 million copies in the first two weeks of its release, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said in November.

At the opening of the fall COMDEX, Gates said the 7 million copies were sold, by Microsoft, to computer manufacturers for use on new personal computers and through upgrades and full packaged product sold by retailers throughout the world.

“The appetite of businesses and consumers worldwide for innovative PC technologies is stronger than ever,” Gates said. “In just the two weeks since the global launch of Windows XP, Microsoft has already sold an amazing 7 million copies of Windows XP, which we are incredibly excited about. We believe that Windows XP will light a fire of innovation across the entire high-technology industry.”

A statement on Microsoft’s Web site said sales of Windows XP are more than 200 percent higher than sales for Windows 98 in its first month, and the OS has been adopted by OEMs faster than any other operating system.

While those statements may be true, they’re less impressive when put in context. The market is much bigger now than it was in the days of Windows 95 and 98. According to IDC, sales of Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 were 53 million units in 1996. In 2000, sales of Windows 9x and Millennium Edition topped 70 million units, with a potential market of 90 million units.

In the business market, IDC expects XP Professional to overtake Windows 2000 Professional sales over a two- to three-year period.

XP has generally gotten positive reviews in the press for its increased stability compared to 9x flavors of Windows, as well as its multimedia enhancements. Negative feedback has included the need to contact Microsoft to activate consumer versions of XP, and the claims of some that XP runs slower on most machines than Win2K Professional.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review.

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