Microsoft: 60 Million Copies of Vista Sold

In half a year, Windows Vista has outsold Apple's entire installed base. That's according to Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, who announced the figures at Microsoft's financial analyst meetings yesterday.

Turner said Vista has sold 60 million copies since the consumer launch last January. That's a big jump from its last announced sales figure of 40 million copies, which Microsoft touted at its WinHEC conference in May.

Turner's proclamation may have been, at least in part, a response to media reports of slow Vista uptake and less-than-glowing reviews of the product, especially compared with continued strong Windows XP sales. But a number of market research companies, including Gartner and In-Stat, say that there's no great clamor for Vista, and that it hasn't been the huge success that Microsoft claims.

It's also true that although Microsoft may have sold 60 million copies of Vista, it doesn't mean that Vista is in use by 60 million customers. Those figures include sales to OEMs that pre-install Vista on new computers, and also include upgrade copies of Vista for computers that shipped late last year with XP loaded, before Vista was released.

Still, it is a significant sales figure. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, when he announced the 40 million Vista figure at WinHEC, stated that it was "the fastest-selling operating system in history," and had sold twice as many copies as XP in the same time period.

Vista adoption is also being helped by its increasing application compatibility, Turner said.

"On the application front, over 2,000 applications have earned the Works with Windows Vista or the Certified for Windows Vista logo. That's up from 650 at launch. And so big, big improvements are getting made in this space every single day," he said.

Compatibility in the device category is similarly moving ahead.

"Over 2.1 million devices are now supported -- that's up from 1.5 million ... at launch time, covering nearly all known hardware in the Windows ecosystem today. So over 98 percent of the devices are covered today. More than 11,000 logoed hardware and devices are now available," Turner said.

He also compared device compatibility with XP.

"This is something we've worked very hard on out of the gate. And we came out, both from a compatibility standpoint around applications and devices, in far better shape when we launched than we were with XP."

On the other hand, XP has been around for five years, and with the release of Service Pack 2 in 2004, gained a reputation for stability and security that continues. That may be why Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell said last week that Microsoft changed its predicted revenue split between the two products, revising Vista's percentage of desktop OS sales downward from 85 percent to 78 percent, and XP's in the opposite direction, from 15 percent to 22 percent.

It also may be why that, although Vista's sales figures appear to be very strong, there could well be some uneasiness lurking underneath those gaudy numbers for Microsoft.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].