Win7 Sales off to Strong Start, but Will it Last?

Dennis Faas's picture

According to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, sales of the company's Windows 7 operating system have been nothing less than "fantastic" since its launch back on October 22. However, industry experts are wondering exactly why that is, and if the good times will last for MS.

Speaking at a press event in Tokyo on Thursday, Microsoft CEO Ballmer gushed about Windows 7. He has reason to, thus far. According to industry stat-tracker NPD Group, boxed copies of Windows 7 have sold at a rate 234 per cent higher than Windows Vista during the same early period (in U.S. stores).

Sales of Windows 7 Show "Strong Uptick"

It's not yet known how Windows 7 is selling to businesses -- the really important market for Microsoft -- but experts believe it's probably also very impressive. Technical analyst at tech re-seller CDW Corp. Michael Van Cleave recently stated that his company has noticed a "strong uptick" in the demand for Windows 7 amongst businesses, educational institutions, and government bodies. That suggests NPD could soon be unveiling equally high numbers for sales to corporations and public institutions like universities and city governments. (Source:

Surprisingly, PC sales haven't been given the boost by Windows 7 that retailers received from Windows Vista. In fact, total PC sales are down 6 per cent compared to the first period after Vista's launch in early 2007. That has led NPD analyst Stephen Baker to remark, "We would have liked to see a stronger jump on the hardware side." Given widespread hopes that Windows 7 would help revive a struggling tech market, surely he's not alone in feeling that way.

Microsoft's Heavy Discounts Fuel High Sales

Still, what is clear is that Windows 7 is doing well and hopes will remain high that it can boost PC sales significantly over the coming holiday season. However, whether or not Microsoft can actually maintain those "fantastic" sales remains to be seen. Right now, industry analysts, such as the pundits over at PC World, are wondering how it is Windows 7 sales ever got so high in the first place.

Part of the reason might be the discounts. As PC World has pointed out, Microsoft has offered deep cuts thus far to its standard prices, with the average version of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade selling for just $76 -- 37 per cent lower than the $120 retail listing. Students have also had the opportunity to get a very cheap version of Windows 7, for just $30, in fact. (Source:

The question is: can Microsoft keep up with these low, low prices? How much is it, and the retailer, receiving at this point for every reduced copy sold? Only Microsoft and big partners like Best Buy really know the answer to that right now, but it's unlikely that the good times will, or can, continue for very long.

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