About those 100 million Vista licenses...

About those 100 million Vista licenses...

Summary: 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.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • All of that may be true, but

    We can bitch and talk about how Vista all we want. The bottom line is simple - it's winning.

    Linux is no better off now than it was in 1999.

    Mac is doing a great job of rocking the boat and making some waves, but it is a horrifically far cry from supplanting Windows.

    Vista has won, haters. Live with it or live in anguish.

    • my two cents....

      At first I thought Vista was great. However, a few odd ball issues and the very fast new PC hardware we have and how slow startup, resume, and shutdown are, not to mention the huge install this thing has. We HATE Office 2007 period !!!! If I had it to do all over again I would have gone with XP and Office 2003. I am not alone, my brother has a couple of strange Vista issues and he too wishes he would have gone with XP on his new PC.
      • Office Fix

        Save yourself some headache and money and switch to OpenOffice. It's free and it works. What more could you ask.
      • The inevitability of an upgrade...

        We evaluated Vista, found it lacking any compelling reason to move to it. In fact, after reading about WGA, we felt that Vista was not usable in a business environment at all. (Now that MS has relaxed the 'reduced functionality' mode, this isn't as damning, but still - what's to keep them from reversing themselves again?)

        Since it is inevitable that, at some point, XP will not be an option (I'm thinking years from now), we are looking towards migrating to something. Since that something isn't going to be Vista, we're looking real hard at Linux, Open Office and a few other cross-platform applications.

        Right now (with XP), we've removed MS Office 2k3 and have installed Open Office. We replaced IE with FireFox, ditched our Windows Server infrastructure (including Exchange) in favor of Linux. We now use Thunderbird and Evolution as our e-mail clients. The idea is that, while still using XP, we get our users comfortable with alternative applications. When we make the switch to Linux desktops, I doubt many, if any at all, will notice the change.

        The moral of this story is that migration from XP to something else is inevitable. It is only a matter of time. We're not going to pin our hopes on the next version of Windows being any more compelling than Vista is. While home users may be able to stick with XP, as a business, we have to plan for the future. An adage comes to mind: If you fail to plan, then you've planned to fail.

    • Is that you Mike Cox?

      D T Schmitz
      • He's right (NT)

        • Is he?

          It's like another Apple commercial based on Mr. Gates comments with
          the PC guy in some jogging sorts and a suite coat.. ha! Sweet band
          on head declaring he's winning the race. Mac guy and a new
          charecter the bearded Linux guy are standing there chatting and they
          look up at PC guy and say "We are in a race?"

          Look Apple is doing very well on all her fronts including Leopard
          which is selling in record numbers for Apple. Linux seems to be
          doing well enough it's product HAS improved since 1999 and it's has
          gained mind share over those years. I think companies like Red Hat
          make money as well. So depending on how you look at things they
          Apple and Linux are doing well. Look MS has always been the 800lb
          geeky gorilla in the room and will continue to be so for years to
          come. The very fact that Linux and Apple do as well as they do is a
          testimate. After all who of us would want to be locked in a room with
          an 800lb gorilla? Is it not impressive to survive not only that to thrive
          in such an environment?

          Pagan jim
          • Point taken. (NT)

    • We'll see

      I bought a PC with Vista last week. The first thing I did when I got it home was wipe the HD and install linux. I never even booted Vista.

      We'll see how my request for a refund per the Vista EULA comes along...
      • You aren't the norm (NT)

        • He's probably closer than you think.

          I would venture to say that Vista is the most replaced OS ever written. Whether it's replaced by Linux or XP.
          • I agree

            [i]I would venture to say that Vista is the most replaced OS ever written.[/i]

            Actually, you may be on to something there. I mean who would buy a Mac to put a different OS on it? Probably no one... they're too expensive. If you bought a PC with Linux pre-installed, you probably had to work pretty hard to find one... so you wouldn't want to replace that either. Windows XP... the predecessor was Windows ME, and that [i]really[/i] sucked, so you wouldn't go back to that.

            IMO Vista's greatest competition for PC installtions... is Windows XP.
          • They know that...

            Which is why they are stopping it, of which I don't agree with.
          • Depends on if they are replacing it with Xp or Linux.

            I would hazard a guess that in many a case it's XP but it's not
            impossible for it to be a flavor of Linux or perhaps both depending
            on the user and his or her needs/desires.

            Now as for Mac's being too expensive..... please get off that ole saw.
            It had some validity back in the 90's but those days are past. Mac's
            compared to other name brand vendors with similar specks do quite
            nicely price wise and SOMETIMES even win the odd price battle.

            Pagan jim
          • XP or Linux makes no difference

            It makes no difference weather Vista is being replaced by XP, Linux BSD or anything else. The point is it is being REPLACED on nearly a constant basis.
          • I disagree...

            Yes it's the most replaced O/S so far. I doubt people replaced it in droves like with XP vs 98SE...

            Microsoft is now competing with itself.
          • Not quite

            [i]Now as for Mac's being too expensive..... please get off that ole saw.[/i]

            You're still forgetting about the low end PC market. I agree for the most part, when comparing computers of equal components Macs are not as outrageously priced as they once were. But for the low end PC market, where Apple essentially does not compete... Well, that will belong to Windows and Linux for now IMO.
          • Low-end PCs

            Unfortunately, low-end PCs have an even more horrible Vista experience, barely able
            to run Home Basic.
          • You're adding XP to the mix.

            He said Linux. He was wrong with Linux.
          • Wrong?

            In what manner was I wrong? I replaced 32-bit Vista Home Premium with 64-bit linux at no cost beyond that of burning a DVD. And who knows, maybe I'll get a refund for my unused Vista license. That's what the EULA says anyway.