updated 08:45 am EDT, Fri October 26, 2007
Vista Sales Rate Slowing
The sales rate of Microsoft's Windows Vista is gradually slowing down as the operating system reaches the one-year anniversary of its release to businesses, according to the company's latest financial results. The Redmond, Washington-based company shipped approximately 28 million copies of Vista in the latest quarter ended September, or 9.3 million copies per month. Though the Windows developer pointed to 27 percent growth in business licenses and noted that many home users were buying the more lucrative Vista Home Premium or Ultimate editions, the rate represents a decline from the 10 million per month reported early in summer. Shipments of the OS peaked in the first three months after its January release, when the company sold an average of 20 million copies per month thanks to a wave of early adopters and users waiting for Vista to replace older systems. Over 88 million copies of Vista have been shipped to date, Microsoft says.
Microsoft for now does not appear to express worry about the decline. Overall customer demand "continued to build" during the quarter ended September, claims company Platform and Services head Kevin Johnson.
The slowdown marks a relatively lukewarm result in a positive quarter for the company, which saw its profit climb 23 percent year-over-year to $4.29 billion. Shipments of Office grew by 20 percent from the same period in 2006, while the company's Entertainment division -- responsible for the Xbox 360 and the Zune -- saw some of the best growth in any one aspect of the company, turning from a loss in summer 2006 to a $165 million profit in 2007. Much of this was attributed to the $330 million in software sales from Halo 3 during its first few days on sale and a linked jump in console sales.
Advertising was Microsoft's primary sore point in the quarter, posting a $264 million loss due largely to the expensive purchase of ad firm aQuantive and similar investments.
Forecasts by the company did not specifically name Windows but painted an optimistic picture for the year's overall results by raising the guidance for investors. The company's Entertainment branch was not expected to be a part of this, however, as sales were predicted to either remain flat or drop by as much as 8 percent as the publicity for Halo 3 died down. Although the division plans to launch new Zunes in mid-November, their sales are not expected to be strong enough to curb a downward trend.