Vista Sales: Fact or Fiction?

Dennis Faas's picture

Since Vista was released early this year, there has been no shortage of analyses judging the success of sales of the new operating system. But months have passed, and there still doesn't seem to be a consensus on how Vista is doing.

Even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer seems to have changed his mind a few times. A few weeks ago, Ballmer said: "We think in the next three months we'll probably sell five times as many copies of Windows Vista as we ever did [Windows 95] in the equivalent period of time... We'll probably go double what we did with Windows XP."

But last week, it sounded like he changed his tune: "I think sometimes the enthusiasm about this great product and the excitement and the launch, people have to understand our revenue models because I think some of the revenue forecasts I've seen out there for Windows Vista in fiscal year '08 are overly aggressive." (Source:

Earnings statements from Best Buy and Circuit City only furthered clouded the issue. Both companies said that demand for Vista impacted their PC earnings, yet the two companies had very different results.

While Best Buy reported a 10% increase in PC and computer service sales, Circuit City reported a $12.2 million loss for the quarter, citing disappointing sales. The difference may be due to the fact that both companies took polar-opposite approaches to marketing Vista. Best Buy aggressively pushed the new operating system, but Circuit City decided that it would limit its Vista inventory. This may mean that Vista had a huge impact on sales -- but then again, this information alone surely cannot outweigh the countless reports calling Vista a big disappointment. (Source:

So what's the real story?

Looking at the facts, Vista is selling extremely well -- in fact, over 20 million units have been sold. Compared to Apple's OS X Tiger, which sold only 2 million copies in its first month, calling Vista unsuccessful would be sourly inaccurate. (Source:

Then again, demand really isn't as great as many had anticipated. PC manufacturers such as Acer have been saying that Vista's impact on total sales has been disappointingly small. (Source:

It seems that the success of Vista's sales really depends on who you talk to. Nevertheless: at the end of the day, you really can't call Vista a failure.

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