Windows 7 launched one year ago, and this morning Microsoft announced that it’s sold more than 240 million licenses. That sounds like great news for Microsoft, right? More than 240 million people have chosen to buy Windows 7!
I’ll give Microsoft credit where credit’s due. Windows 7 is mostly a pleasure to use. It’s unquestionably better than Vista, and makes my five-year-old Windows XP system feel a little stale.
But apart from a few upgraders who can’t wait to install the latest and greatest, most people don’t buy Windows. They buy new PCs. About 93% of those PCs in the consumer space come with Windows. And the latest version of Windows is Windows 7.
In other words, Windows 7 rode the PC run rate to 240 million in sales. If PC sales continue to grow, as they’ve done almost every year with only a couple interruptions during recessions, then every version of Windows is going to be the fastest-selling version of Windows ever. Microsoft bragging about Windows licenses is sort of like a tire manufacturer bragging about sales of tires on new cars.
There was one interesting statistic in this morning’s blog post about Windows 7, though. Microsoft says that 100% of its OEMs–that’s Microsoft jargon for PC manufacturers–were shipping the operating system six months after its release. By comparison, only 70% of manufacturers were shipping Vista after it had been on the market six months.
Wait a second. That means that six months after Vista was released, people hated it so much that a full 30% of PC makers were still shipping new computers with Windows XP. Not just offering a choice of XP, but ONLY shipping XP.
No wonder Microsoft is so anxious to put that nightmare behind it.