About those 100 million Vista licenses...

My colleague Mary Jo Foley reported earlier today on Microsoft's claim that it has sold 100 million retail copies of Windows Vista. That's a stretch, as it turns out. I tracked down a Microsoft spokesperson who helped me unravel the numbers.

My colleague Mary Jo Foley reported earlier today on Microsoft's claim that it has sold 100 million retail copies of Windows Vista. During Bill Gates' keynote address last night I heard him say, "I'm pleased to say that we've got over 100 million people using Vista now."

That's a stretch.

I tracked down a Microsoft spokesperson today who was just as surprised as I was to hear that sentence coming from the keynote stage. The spokesperson confirmed for me that those 100 million copies represent licenses, not confirmed users. And the total includes copies sold through all channels, including those preinstalled on OEM computers, copies sold as retail upgrades or full packaged product (FPP), and volume licenses sold to corporate customers.

Some of those copies are on retail shelves now, either in shrink-wrapped boxes or in PCs waiting to be sold. And there's no telling which OS is in use for the millions of corporate licenses in the mix, which in most cases grant the right to install Windows XP or Vista.

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