Microsoft announced yesterday that it sold more than 20 million licenses for Windows Vista in its first 30 days of general availability. That places Vista sales at more than double those of its predecessor, Windows XP, in the same time frame.

"We are encouraged to see such a positive consumer response to Windows Vista right out of the gate," says Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bill Veghte. "While it's very early in the product lifecycle, we are setting a foundation for Windows Vista to become the fastest-adopted version of Windows ever. Working with our partners, we are helping our customers leverage new tools and programs to accelerate the transition and provide a great user experience."

According to Microsoft, the 20 million Vista copies sold include licenses sold to PC makers, copies of retail full and upgrade versions sold to retailers, and upgrades ordered through the Vista Express Upgrade program between January 30 and February 28. By comparison, Microsoft sold less than half that number of XP licenses in its first 30 days of availability and announced in January 2002 that it had sold 17 million copies of XP in its first 60 days of availability.

Before Microsoft's announcements, various news stories had erroneously claimed that Vista sales were lagging behind those of XP. What's really happening is that most customers have opted to purchase new PCs with Vista preinstalled rather than upgrade their existing customers. This situation has benefited the entire PC industry, of course. Dell says its customers have overwhelmingly chosen premium Vista versions over lower-end versions, purchasing, in turn, more expensive PCs and components.