Vista Boxed Retail Sales Sluggish

Dennis Faas's picture

A soon-to-be-released study from NPD Group reportedly shows that standalone unit sales of Windows Vista in its first six months significantly trail standalone unit sales of Windows XP in its first six months of release.

Boxed sales of Windows XP outsold boxed sales of Windows Vista by almost 60 percent in their respective first six months of availability. Due to the over-inflated cost of Windows Vista, revenue from sales of boxed copies of Vista was only down by 41 percent. It's important to note though that Windows XP was released in October while Windows Vista was released in January, meaning that the first six months of XP's release included the Christmas holiday shopping season.

Speaking on Vista, NPD analyst Chris Swenson said "it's just not doing well".  He did note, however, that most people end up with Vista when they purchase a new PC. Amazingly enough, Microsoft agreed while noting that people getting a new operating system with a new PC has increased Vista sales.

"As of this summer, more than 60 million licenses have been sold," Microsoft told CNET in a statement. "While we can't comment on the findings of a report we haven't seen, we continue to be on track in all segments we follow."

A regulatory filing from Microsoft notes that more than 80 percent of its Windows revenue is from computer makers selling preinstalled operating systems on new machines. Gartner research indicates that in 2006 roughly 239 million PCs were sold as compared to 128 million PCs sold in 2001. One big factor involving Vista sales (especially '60 million' licenses sold) is how quickly businesses will move to Vista if at all.

Retail sales of Microsoft Office products are another story. Microsoft Office 2007 sales almost doubled Microsoft Office 2003 sales during the first six months, up 59.6 percent. Swenson did note that 20 percent of the boxed copies of Microsoft Office 2007 were for Macs, possibly due to a large number of people switching to Macs.

Several factors probably contribute to the sluggish sales, including the stringent hardware requirements meaning most users will need to buy new computers. Swenson said that part of the problem can also be attributed to a lot of the complex new features in Vista that consumers need to be educated about. Just because boxed Vista sales are down doesn't mean they won't pick up, especially since XP sales peaked a few years after it was launched.

Data used for NPD's report is from monthly sales statistics of software sold at Best Buy, CompUSA, Target, Apple and

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