Windows Vista ships 60 million

Milestone ahead: 1 billion Windows PCs get newest OS in next 12 months

Microsoft last week revealed more details about Windows Vista's financial performance, supporting its contention that the operating system is meeting and beating market expectations.

Since Vista's Jan. 30 consumer release, Microsoft has shipped 60 million copies to PC makers, retailers and customers, said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer for Microsoft, during a presentation (full transcript available here) at the company's annual financial analysts meeting at its Redmond headquarters.

Microsoft had previously said that it had shipped 20 million copies of Vista in its first month and 40 million copies of Vista in the first 100 days.

"By our math, we eclipsed the entire installed base of Apple in the first five weeks that this product [Vista] shipped," Turner said.

Propelled by growth in developing nations such as Russia and Brazil, Windows will be running on estimated 1 billion PCs within the next 12 months, Turner said.

Turner also said that that 68 percent of customers bought more expensive premium versions of Windows last year, a 16 percent increase from the prior year. That was led by purchases of premium consumer versions of Windows, which were up 19 percent.

Microsoft's figures come after last week's Q4 2007 earnings call, when Redmond, driven by strength in sales of both Vista and Office, topped US$50 billion in annual revenue for the first time.

Sales of XP and Vista totaled US$15.0 billion in FY 2007, up nearly US$2 billion, or 14 percent, from the prior year.

Turner attributed the figures to better security and reliability in Vista compared to XP. For instance, he said that it has had 21 percent fewer support calls per copy of Vista compared to when XP was launched.

Despite impressive-sounding numbers, Microsoft also said last week it would ratchet back projections for Vista uptake in the next twelve months, as many customers cling onto the six-year-old XP.

It also expects dollar sales of XP and Vista to grow slightly slower next year, at a rate of between 9 percent and 10 percent.

Microsoft's claim that it has shipped 60 million copies of Vista does not mean that 60 million people are actually using Vista today, though some analysts say that the two figures may not actually be that far off.

Just as importantly, the 60 million figure excludes the 42 million PCs covered today under corporate volume licenses agreements for Windows.

Though those companies have been allowed to upgrade to Vista anytime since November 30 last year, many analysts predicted -- and anecdotes seem to indicate -- that they are largely holding off for now.

Turner said that Continental Airlines will deploy 10,000 copies of Vista by the end of this year, and that Banco Bradesco in Brazil has already deployed 70,000 copies of Vista.

He also said that Redmond unleashed a "call to action with all our sales force" to "drive deployments."

Microsoft also said that its Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) collaboration software brought in US$800 million last year, up 35 percent from the prior year.

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