Windows 7 Sales Trounce Vista - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems

Windows 7 Sales Trounce Vista

Microsoft's new OS is significantly outpacing its predecessor in terms of post-launch market impact.

In a promising sign for Microsoft's flagging operating system business, early Windows 7 sales are well ahead of those posted by Windows Vista when Vista debuted in January, 2007.

Windows 7 screen shot
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First week sales of Windows 7, which launched Oct. 22nd, were 234% higher than those recorded by Vista during its first week on the market, according to research firm The NPD Group.

"Microsoft's program of early low-cost pre-sales, high-visibility marketing, and aggressive deals helped make the Windows 7 software launch successful," said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD. "In a slow environment for packaged software Windows 7 brought a large number of customers into the software aisles," said Baker.

Still, Microsoft's hardware partners actually fared better during Vista's launch. Windows 7's debut boosted PC sales 49% compared to the prior year, but Vista gave the PC market a 68% lift during its inaugural week, according to NPD.

NPD said Vista's January launch gave it an edge because PC sales tend to be stronger in that month than in October. Microsoft needs Windows 7 to be a hit, as the company's operating system revenues have experienced double-digit declines in recent quarters.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer formally introduced Windows 7 last month at an industry event in New York City. Ballmer said Windows 7 is simple to use, responsive, and unobtrusively secure—all things Vista was not. The OS "makes everyday use of a PC better," said Ballmer.

Microsoft worked with 3,000 engineers and 50,000 tech industry partners to build Windows 7, a product the company hopes will eventually make its way to 8 million customers.

Computer users knocked Windows Vista for its intrusive security features, heavy horsepower requirements, and incompatibility with many older software programs. To boost compatibility in Windows 7, Microsoft added to some versions an "XP mode" that emulates Vista's predecessor, which is still used by most businesses.

Windows 7 also provides native support for new input modes, such as touch-screen computing.

The full version of Windows 7 Professional is $299, with upgrades going for $199. Windows 7 Ultimate is priced at $319, with the upgrade version at $219. The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is priced at $199, with an upgrade from Vista or XP costing $119.

InformationWeek has published an indepth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).

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