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Windows XP: Will it save the retailers?

Windows XP launches today but are people going to pile into the shops to buy it?
Written by John Oates, Contributor

Windows XP launches today but are people going to pile into the shops to buy it?

Retail computer sales have suffered along with everyone else in the present downturn, but will Windows XP reverse this trend? Simon Turner, managing director of PC World, said: "We are expecting to sell a lot of shrink-wrapped packages very quickly. We opened three shops at midnight and had queues outside." However, Turner claimed it is too early to say what impact the launch will have on PC sales. He believes people will buy the software because its multimedia functions, such as manipulating photos, are much easier to use. Turner said the home and pro versions are selling in equal numbers. Turner believes consumers and small businesses will adopt XP quickly, with medium size enterprises and larger corporates bringing up the rear. A spokesman for Gem, a retail distributor, said: "We're selling both the home and the pro versions but we've seen higher sales of the pro version than usual - maybe because people can upgrade from [Windows] 98 onwards." Online retailer dabs.com said in a statement: "By 10:30am on 25 October, dabs.com had already shipped out 917 units of Windows XP with many more orders expected before the end of the day. Customers have so far ordered 532 copies of the home edition and 385 for the professional version." Jonathan Wall, sales and marketing director of dabs.com, said in the statement: "These figures are amazing taking into account the current market place for IT sales. It would seem not only have Microsoft got the product right but that consumers and businesses are ready for this new product, and early indications are that this could be the kick start that the industry was hoping for in the important run up to Christmas. We will ship more copies of Windows XP in the first 24 hours than we shipped of Windows ME or 98 in the first month." A spokeswoman for Tiny Computers said: "We're very impressed with its usability. We get a lot of software related queries to our helpline. I think XP will help cut the cost of customer support and lead to noticeably less calls to our helpdesk."
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