NPD Group reports that Microsoft Windows Vista, in its first month of availability to business customers, sold a lot better than expected. It sold slightly less well than MS Windows XP did in its first month of availability, but industry analysts in general have tended to predict downright depressing sales figures — far, far worse than XP. Instead, it did almost as well. Vista also blew away MS Windows 2000’s first-month sales figures.
To me, this wasn’t a surprise. I suspect these are the main reasons for rapid early adoption by businesses:
- There’s a set of dedicated Windows users who have been waiting for the next Windows release for five years now. That’s a long time to wait for something like that. After another month or two, they’ll all be done buying Vista, and their sales will likely drop off.
- There’s a set of companies that provide software and online services for end users and other businesses, who must support their software and/or services on end users’, clients’, and partners’ computers, even if those end users, clients, and partners are early adopters who buy Vista — to say nothing of the fact that they have to plan ahead for the apathetic types who end up using Vista just because it comes with new computers. Thus, they need a small number of Vista systems for development and testing purposes, even if they intend to stay with XP or 2k for their everyday working systems for some time to come.
Microsoft is predicting better sales in the first year for Vista than for XP. I frankly doubt it. It gets even more improbable when you consider that Microsoft is actually predicting that Vista will get double the first-year sales of XP. Time will tell, I suppose, but I have some clear reasoning behind this prediction:
I think Microsoft is going to see some dismal mid-cycle sales on Vista. A lot of companies are quite content to stay with XP, or even 2k, still. Some are concerned about increasing problems with privacy and security in Microsoft licensing, technical and legal issues arising around Vista’s integrated DRM software, and the fact that Vista almost completely failed to improve anything other than the superficial bells and whistles of the “desktop”. We may (emphasis on may) even see a statistically significant (though not huge) percentage of former Windows users migrating large numbers of systems to other OSes, such as MacOS X, Linux, and Solaris. As much as I’d like to see FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and maybe Plan9 in that list, I don’t really see it happening at this time.