The Irrelevance of Windows Vista

Dennis Faas's picture

Despite Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's recent assertions that Windows Vista "is Microsoft's best-selling product ever," there are many indications to the contrary, that reveal just how irrelevant Windows Vista has become and how it has proven to be a major flop. (Source: and

Ballmer boasts that over 180 million copies of Windows Vista were sold in the first 18 months of its release. As infopackets has noted in the past, it's virtually impossible to get an accurate count on the number of Windows Vista units sold since many have been "downgraded" to Windows XP and since many of the Vista PCs are still sitting on store shelves. (Source:

Only Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Business come with "downgrade" licenses that allow the user to have Windows XP instead. Perhaps if Windows Vista Home Premium came with the same "downgrade rights," more users would have opted to stay with XP.

Just Who is Using Windows Vista?

In a recent speech, Balmer said they have 180 million users, mostly on the consumer market. (Source:

Exactly who is buying this "best-selling" product ever? According to Gartner analysts, only about 10 percent of enterprises have adopted Windows Vista -- a very low number considering there were six years between Windows XP and Windows Vista.

At a recent Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft offered glimpses of Windows 7, Windows Vista's successor, but no mention of Windows Vista. (Source:

Signs of Weak Vista Sales

Many factors suggest why Vista sales have been less than lackluster.

Increase In Netbook Sales: Netbooks are cheaper than standard PCs and typically ship with Linux or Windows XP Home because of low hardware requirements to run the operating system (Vista's requirements are simply too taxing for a netbook). According to Microsoft, netbooks added 8 percent growth to otherwise flat U.S. PC sales during the third calendar quarter. (Source:

Vanishing License Count: Since Vista's release, every quarterly earnings report (with the exception of the current one), included the number of licenses shipped. The number was 180 million three months earlier, but no mention of licenses shipped since then.

Windows Client Income is down: During the first fiscal quarter, the division's revenue grew a measly 2 percent year over year, but income decreased by 4 percent. By comparison, Business division revenue and income were up 20 percent and 23 percent respectively. Microsoft attributed the client income declines to sales of lower-cost versions in emerging markets and on netbooks in mature markets, despite the fact that PC shipment growth was strong during the quarter.

Other indications include the continued OEM sales of Windows XP downgrade licenses, the previously mentioned 10 percent enterprise adoption rate, and the 35 percent U.S. retail revenue market share gains for Apple's Mac. (Source:

Microsoft believes that Vista has major perception problems. (Source: After spending six billion dollars on development, Vista should not have had the problems it has had. A breakdown of Microsoft's Vista problems are available from The New York Times and CIO. (Source: and

Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Microsoft is now emphasizing Windows 7, but not as being better than Windows Vista -- possibly because it may not be. Windows 7 builds on the same kernel used by Windows Vista, and some early reports aren't favorable. (Source: and

Let's hope that Windows 7 doesn't end up being a bad case of deja-vu.

Visit Bill's Links and More for more great tips, just like this one!

Rate this article: 
No votes yet