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.
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.