Windows Vista: More than 88 million copies sold

Windows Vista: More than 88 million copies sold

Summary: Microsoft has now sold more than 88 million copies of Windows Vista, according to company officials. Vista sales were a big part of the reason Microsoft had a more-than-solid first fiscal 2008 quarter, with earnings of $4.29 billion, or 45 cents a share, on revenue of $13.76 billion.


Microsoft has now sold more than 88 million copies of Windows Vista, according to company officials.

Windows Vista: More than 88 million copies soldVista sales were a big part of the reason Microsoft had a more-than-solid first fiscal 2008 quarter, with earnings of $4.29 billion, or 45 cents a share, on revenue of $13.76 billion.

Up until October 25, when it reported first-quarter earnings, Microsoft was saying it had sold 60 million copies of Vista since the product began shipping.

On today's call with Wall Street analysts, company officials said that Microsoft has achieved more than 20 percent growth in Vista sales for three quarters in a row. They said that 75 percent of the copies of Vista sold were "premium" SKUs (compared wtih 59 percent of the SKUs that were premium a year ago). Volume-licensing deals were up 27 percent in the Windows client space, the Softies said.

(I thought I heard Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell say during the analyst call that the company had sold 85 million copies of Vista. But the actual total is in excess of 88 million, a company spokesman confirmed.)

Another interesting data point the company shared on Thursday was how aQuantive has begun affecting Microsoft's online-advertising revenues.

Microsoft's Online Systems Business (OSB) is still in the red -- and actually got a little redder this quarter, with an operating loss of $264 million, compared to $102 million for the year-ago quarter.

Microsoft is attributing its operating loss for OSB to increased sales and marketing expenses, and increased research and development expenses. Its newly filed 10-Q, Microsoft says the OSB operating loss also includes a $58 million loss from aQuantive, encompassing a $24 million in-process research and development write-off. The OSB loss also includes a $151 million, or 63% increase, in cost of revenue was "primarily driven by increased data center costs, online content expenses, and aQuantive-related expenses."

At the same time, however, according to the 10-Q:

"OSB revenue increased driven primarily by online advertising revenue which grew $120 million or 33% to $487 million. This increase reflects growth in our existing online advertising business for search, home page, email, and messaging services and includes $29 million of aQuantive online advertising revenue. During the quarter, we also recognized $51 million of aQuantive advertising agency revenue. The increase in revenue was partially offset by a $33 million or 32% decrease in access revenue."

Back to Vista: While Microsoft's Vista sales numbers are typically sales to the channel, and not sales to customers, that's still a lot of copies of a product that gets a lot more bad press than good these days.

Topics: Software, Banking, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • The name of the game

    It's called "creative accounting" in legal circles, and hyped as "big business" by the liberal press (all owned by corporate America).

    Street language has many more colorful, easy to understand descriptors for what Microsoft and other predatory corporations are doing.

    Blowing smoke and flashing mirrors. Spreading manure is the product of their best efforts.
    Ole Man
    • the game

      3/4 of that 88 million is sitting in warehouses Called OEM's. After the new year no more XP...
      I guess thats good for Microsoft I got Ubuntu and Kubuntu free, installed on my Older Mac's and all of our PC's. Just say NO to Vista..
      • Just say No to Vista.

        I am getting more and more work switching home users to Linux. Business is good.
    • The Forums are busy

      Go to Dell, HP Forums and there are wall to wall consumers of Laptops that only come with Vista installed assiting each other with finding drivers to down grade their machines.

      Many bought PC with XP and a voucher to upgrade all these vouchers were counted in the last quarter whether people used them or not. It's only "simpletons" that believe anything Microsoft says in regards to Vista.

      Did you know you can't as a none business user buy a major Vendor laptop without Vista? Follow their forums and see how happy they are. See how happy they are when they find out Vista Home Premium does not see XP in a workgroup.

      It's OK though, a super highway of disallusioned users is opening up for Linux and Mac OS. Buy a Mac and without hassle you can install XP.
  • Numbers are misleading.

    [i]While Microsoft?s Vista sales numbers are typically sales to the channel, and not
    sales to customers, that?s still a lot of copies of a product that gets a lot more bad
    press than good these days.[/i]

    I sure see a lot of copies of vista sitting on shelves at retail chains. I wonder what
    percentage are in warehouses. Then again, Microsoft still counts unsold (by retailers)
    copies as "marketshare".
    • Yes, you wonder

      without any evidence. Not even really meaningful anecdotal evidence, just what you see at Best Buy.

      The only yardstick that paints Vista in a bad light is the success of Win2K and XP.

      Apple can only wish it has such a 'failure' with its OS
      • Don't forget...

        [b]Eligible PCs include all of the Pentium II, iMac G3 or equivalent or better
        computers. You must also include any other computers (such as older Pentium
        computers) on which any software will be run[/b]

        I wonder how many of those are included in the "88 million"? P1's, P II's, G3's,
        G4's, G5's. None of these will run vista at all. Yet I'm willing to bet they're all
        counted in the "88 million" number. Like I said the numbers are misleading.
      • they

        have always counted "copies" of the os preloaded and sitting in oem warehouses as "sold" that goes wayyyy back
      • the only yard stick?

        the only yard stick is Vendor forums where fustrationb run a mile high with vista and users are actively down grading. I'm pushing a lot of them to linux
        • AS LONG as VISTA COPIES are not IN MICROSOFT hands

          They count as Sold... CC, Frys, Etc. Can get discounts and price protection from M$, but, they are still counted as Sold by M$, also any Laptop Preloaded, adn DownGraded, counts as one Vista Sale..

          IF you sell something, the seller cares nothing about what you do to your copy once you open the box.
    • So? Retailers stock Vista shrink-wrapped ...

      ... because they have to have some around for late adopters. Most consumers will not upgrade their OS until they upgrade their machine. Most geeks with the horsepower (and the desire) to do so have already moved Vista. Some retailers overstocked on Vista -- just like they overstocked on XP in 2001.
      M Wagner
      • The geeks are laughing at Vista....

        Where I work we sell Vista and your wrong, the geeks are still requesting XP Pro. They want power from their PC's not pretty graphics and such frivolous crap that just slows down their PC... Geeks are the ones who know better. The average users are the ones who don't know any better and buy a 400.00us laptop that has Vista on it with 512MB RAM and a celeron or Sempron processor and then brings it back 2 days later crying it's slow...N,F.S. people what do you expect for 400.00?!
        • No respect among thiefs

          Your outfit actually sells them underpowered laptops with vista? Shame!
    • Retail is irrelevant

      Almost nobody buys retail OSs. Not even all that upgrade their OS on current hardware (which is increasingly rare) buy the OS at retail. It's cheaper to buy an OEM copy. The only downside is it's technically married to the hardware it was installed on. But if you built a computer and odn't plan to change MBs anytime soon, it may pay off to go OEM.

      I can't imagine buying an OS at Best Buy, even if I did buy a retail copy. It cheaper online.
      • Average users don't know about OEM discs.....

        Your average user's including Joe six pack, Grandma, and most small business owners only know whats available in their local Fry's, Staples, CompUSA, Circuit City, etc... down the road.<br><br>You, me and the rest of us here are more knowledgeable about computers and such. We know about OEM copies and such.
        • Joe sick pack doesn't buy any OS at retail. (nt)

          • You'd be surprised how many do....

            Tell my customers that.... I work retail and we do sell a reasonable number of copies. What do you think they do when their drive craps the bed and they don't have or can't find their restore discs? They run to their local box store who only sells retail copies. Some buy it to upgrade just because they don't know better and think Vista is newer their by better. <br><br>They ask for it, yep I'll sell it to em.... and another fool and their money is soon parted.
          • I'm not surprised that a few do.

            And when you're talking an install base numbering in the hundreds of millions, a fraction on a percent is still a lot of poeple.

            Joe six pack doesn't know his hard drive has crapped out, he only knows it don't work. You might be surprised by the number of reasons given for a computer being broken when it turns out to be a dead drive. Ask any ISP how many people have accused them of destroying their hard drive.

            Joe six pack brings his computer in for repair, the technician uses the key off the side of the box.

            If your retail store has a service department, you're doing a disservice to your customer and the store by not directing them there first.
          • Vendor Ripoff

            Time for those in the know to blog about it, and safe the sheep. call it a true public service. Build a better society and all that, you know how we all used to be many moons ago.
  • Apple's numbers aren't any more accurate

    For those laughing out there about Vista sitting without being sold, Apple's number probably aren't true either.

    They too could have been sitting in warehouses all over the world, or some could have been returned and exchanged for something else. Who knows.

    Somebody said that Microsoft could be faking the numbers, but there's no proof to that, nor do I doubt MS could get away with doing that.