Windows Vista Hits 60 Million in Sales

In response to public grousing about the supposed lack of success of its latest OS, Microsoft announced late last week that everything is just fine, thank you very much. The company has sold 60 million copies of Vista in its first six months on the market, making it the fastest-selling version of Windows ever. So much for the rumors.

The 60 million figure is particularly impressive because it comes on the heels of a May announcement in which Microsoft revealed that it had (by then) sold 40 million copies of Vista. So the new OS is in fact continuing its torrid sales pace long after it first appeared on new PCs and in retail stores in January. Microsoft is now selling between 10 and 20 million copies of Vista each month. Previously, Microsoft had conservatively estimated that more than 100 million Vista-based PCs would be in users' hands by the end of 2007, and 200 million by the end of 2008. The company appears to be on track to exceed those predictions.

From a competitive standpoint, Microsoft also sought to undercut news reports that Apple's once-beleaguered Macintosh system is making inroads into the PC market. Despite growth almost three times higher than the industry average, Apple still commands less than 3 percent of the market worldwide for PCs, and about 5 percent in the United States. But Microsoft says that Vista had exceeded the entire Mac installed base within its first five weeks on the market. Since then, the gap between the two systems has only grown.

In related news, Microsoft says that the installed base of Windows-based PCs will exceed 1 billion units sometime in the next 12 months. Analysts from IDC and Gartner both recently expressed surprise that PC sales were much stronger in the most recent quarter than either had expected; perhaps Microsoft can hit the 1 billion copies sold mark ahead of schedule.