Vista's Jackrabbit Start
While Microsoft proudly proclaimed in late March that Windows Vista was off
to a fast start, selling 20 million licenses of the product in just its first
month of availability (3 million more than Windows XP sold in its first two
months), some analysts took a bit of shine off those numbers.
In a report to clients, Citigroup analyst Brent Thill states the numbers are
"only slightly ahead of expectations," adding that Microsoft CEO Steve
Ballmer has recently made more cautious statements around what sort of revenues
the operating system would bring in for the current fiscal year.
Thill says Vista's role is not so much to bring in high numbers but to serve
as a stimulant for customers to buy other Microsoft products.
Al Gillen, research vice president of System Software at IDC, says he expects
Microsoft to ship just under 90 million copies of Vista by the end of 2007,
with 52 million going to home users and almost 38 million going to businesses.
"We think they should average about 8 million copies a month [over the
last 11 months of 2007]. So if they're saying 20 million in one month -- wow,
that's a lot of copies. Their fourth quarter client-side numbers were not so
good...so it might be reasonable to assume there was a strong bounce-back in
the first quarter," Gillen says.
Gillen adds that in 2001, the year Windows XP shipped, Microsoft sold 103 million
Windows client OSes. In 2007 the company is currently on a run rate of 162 million
for the year.
"Rolling out a product in 2007, you might expect there'd be a 60 percent
pickup for the first couple of months for that product. With all things being
equal -- and of course they are not all equal -- in theory the numbers ought
to be a little bigger," Gillen says.
Microsoft's numbers include both boxed copies and copies bundled on new PCs,
as well as those people who have registered for free Vista upgrades. However,
company officials claim that the free upgrade requests were not the main reason
for the fast start.
Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.