Sales figures will often tell you whether a product is really as anticipated as you'd like to think it is. It's not like we've had any recently flopped releases that could come to mind for an example, of course... but if we were to have one hypothetically, we'd say it should at least be more successful than your previous launch. Certain consoles were not. Certain operating systems, on the other hand, would be wildly successful
Whether you think Windows Vista is the slickest OS to date or you think it's a bloated piece of junk, sales figures don't lie. Windows Vista has sold twenty million
legitimate licenses in its first month
. That's 2*10^7 for everyone playing along at home. And it's also the most successful launch in the history of operating systems.
To make a comparison, Windows XP (widely considered a successful product launch) generated 17 million legal licenses in its first two months.
Microsoft touts the figures as a testament to the new features and security enhancements in Windows Vista, and it's probably at least partly right. Then there's a much more comprehensive advertising and pre-load campaign and (I cannot stress this enough) an open beta
which allowed anyone to really try the OS on for size. Even if you didn't fool around with it personally, chances were that a friend or colleague had - and the open access coupled with proper advertising helped catapault the new version into dining-room discussion fuel around the globe.
Of course, it's also a much bigger world out there now - several entire nations have joined the digital age since XP's launch in 2002. Gartner Research
made special mention that the increase shouldn't be a surprise due to the difference in computer sales. According to research, 52 million computers were sold in 2002, while over 92 million are expected this year. Of course, that's only a 77% increase - Vista sales increased 135% over XP.
Also attributing to the success was the version structure, which sales show that consumers made some pretty heavy use out of. By giving people different versions of the OS tailored to different needs, many consumers found it easy to match themselves up with a version that contained what they needed, rather than feeling like they had to overbuy. This is in contrast to what many of us in the press thought, as several of us were under the impression that too many choices might lead to confusion and a frustrated consumer walking away.
Oddly enough, we weren't the only ones expecting Vista launch problems - Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
said himself that launch figures may be a tad optimistic, because many people may just wait for a pirated copy. I guess we were both a little off.
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