Saturday, July 19, 2008

180 million Vista licenses? Are you kidding Microsoft?

Even though this is a little financial, I find it overwhelming. Over the past 12 months, Microsoft has had sales of $60.42 billion and a profit of $17.68 billion. You just know that the company is ready to expand further; Microsoft’s treasure chest currently holds more than $23 billion.

Windows Vista sales were said to have been particularly strong. Vista OEM revenue increased $420 million or 13%, driven by 22% growth in OEM license units. Revenue from commercial and retail licensing of Windows operating systems increased $138 million or 22%, primarily from Enterprise Agreements and anti-piracy efforts in emerging markets. OEM premium mix was 72% for the three months ended June 30, 2008. According to Microsoft, total worldwide PC shipments from all sources grew approximately 12% to 14%, driven by demand in both emerging and mature markets.

Microsoft said that 180 million Vista licenses have been sold since the operating system’s launch in late January 2007, which is a huge number by any measure. But given the criticism the software lately has received we were wondering whether demand for Vista in fact is increasing or whether it is stable or perhaps even decreasing.

Microsoft said that it sold 20 million copies of Vista in its first month, 40 million copies in its first 100 days and 60 million in six months. We have to be a bit careful with these numbers as they actually include Express Upgrade sales – a program that was available since October 26, 2006 and allowed the company to take advantage of the Christmas season and sell Vista while it actually had no product available.

This current number of 180 million units is not directly comparable as it includes all Vista sales, including licenses via various volume-licensing deals. There was only one number we could find that more directly compares to this new information: In late October of 2007, or just after the 1-year sales anniversary of Vista, Microsoft said that it had sold 88 million copies plus an additional 40 million+ licenses, which adds up to about 128 million units total! Divided by 12, this gave Vista a sales pace of about 10.6 million units per month. Nine months later, Microsoft apparently has sold an additional 52 million units total, indicating a pace of just 5.8 million copies and licenses per month since October 2007.

Isn't it confusing?

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