updated 11:10 am EDT, Thu October 22, 2009
Windows 7 sees small queues in Japan
Microsoft today saw a relatively muted reaction to the debut of Windows 7 with limited lineups. No reports have surfaced of significant lineups in Western countries, but in Japan the company saw relatively limited queues at Yodobashi Camera and other major retail locations. The lineups were partly spurred by contests; those who bought early were given shirts as well as entries to win travel tickets, Disneyland passes and gift cards.
Unlike previous launches, however, the low turnout is partly deliberate as Microsoft has made Windows 7 more widely accessible in advance of its release; it made free public betas available as early as February and has encouraged early access for the most eager users through free Windows 7 Ultimate copies in house party packs. The company has acknowledged that it still expects the vast majority of upgrades to come from purchases of new PCs rather than separate upgrades.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said he only expects a slight improvement in PC sales due to Windows 7, as most will only upgrade as part of their usual replacement cycles instead of buying early or holding off until today's OS update. [Japan info via Impress]