Microsoft Vista Sales Slip

Barron’s Eric Savitz (Tech Trader Daily) notes that Windows’ Vista isn’t exactly lighting it up over at Amazon’s Software best seller list. Quoting Fred Hickey, Savitz observes:

The real point here is that the slow uptake for Vista has ripples for
the entire PC supply chain. “Tech bulls expected Microsoft’s new
operating system, Vista, to be a big demand driver in 2007,”
writes in his newsletter. “The PC industry built up inventory in
anticipation of a major upgrade cycle. However, we now know that
Vista’s intial reception, from both business and consumer customers,
was far chiller than almost anyone imagined…Instead of a Vista pickup,
it looks we’ve entered a Vista stall.”

We’ve made the same point several times over the past few months, twice last month alone.

And Vista? At the moment, its #37 on the Amazon Software Best Sellers — behind such huge sellers such as Dragon Naturally Speaking Speech Recognition (14), Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007 (22), and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Deluxe (31).

What really must burn Ballmer & Co. is that Vista at #37 is one place behind #36 — Apple’s latest OS upgrade (Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.6.) considering that Apple’s installed base is less than 4% of Microsoft’s. . .


Windows Vista: Not Exactly Selling Like Hotcakes At
Eric Savitz
Barron’s blog  February 27, 2007, 4:28 pm

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. bigboy commented on Mar 1

    Well, you can’t have it both ways you know… one one hand preach how consumer spending are tighter and tighter and prove it daily how we are entering bad times and on the other hand wonder how Vista sales are not as good as expected…

    I mean – look at Sony’s PS3. Clearly very bad timing, among other things. If it was 2 years ago, it would fly off the shelves no matter what.

  2. NN commented on Mar 1

    Bad article.

    Everybody knows most Vista upgrades would occur through the purchase of new computers. So, Mr. Savitz is way off base.

  3. V L commented on Mar 1

    ” Eric Savitz (Tech Trader Daily) notes that Windows’ Vista isn’t exactly lighting it up over at Amazon.”

    Eric cannot make these conclusions based on Amazon ranks alone.

    The last time I checked Vista Home premium was #32 and Mac OS X was #35. Currently, TurboTax is #1 (seasonal) and MS Office 2007 is #2.

    In addition, Amazon offers 19% discount for Mac OS X and only free shipping for Vista (about 4% off).

    Moreover, Vista has multiple versions and Amazon lists them as different products. Amazon assigns to each Vista version its own spot but Mac OS X is counted as a single product.

    In other words, if Amazon would count all Vista versions as one product it would be number one, next to #2 MS Office 2007.
    In short, Amazon ranks do not mean anything.

    I agree with Fred Hickey 100%. The PC industry has overestimated the potential Vista upgrade cycle.

    Disclaimer: I am using Vista Ultimate on all of my personal and trading computers. I am very pleased with Vista stability and performance.

  4. Max commented on Mar 1

    Buying a retail operating system is stupid – the possible gains are uncertain, the possible problems are certain, and the prices are 4 times the OEM licence prices.

  5. V L commented on Mar 1

    Why don’t Wall Street (NYSE and Dow Jones) upgrade their computers?

    What they don’t have any money?

  6. Robert Coté commented on Mar 1

    Shocking that sales are roughly that of Mac OS X? That’s not the half of it Mr. R. Remember Vista is hellaciously difficult to pirate and OS X is well, not. The lie is “installed base.” In my experience a Mac is useful for typically twice as long and recently 2.5 times as long as a PC installation. The new Intel machines are too new but 3x is certainly indicated. Thus when you see 6% think more 10%-15%.

  7. V L commented on Mar 1

    It could be another reason; people (myself included) buy Vista OEM software (not available from Amazon) from other sources.

    Is there Mac OS X OEM? (I am not sure if OEM is available because of the Apple’s hardware monopoly)

  8. KirkH commented on Mar 1

    We just did a seminar on Vista for some local non-profits and people are scared to buy new computers because Vista is the only option and they’re happy with what they have. If you want a Dell go through the small business site instead of the home and XP should be available.

  9. Michael C. commented on Mar 1

    The gap between XP and Vista is just too small. Personally, I still have some of my XP settings to windows classic, so I don’t even utilize all of XP’s visual enhancements.

    There are even some XP themes that you can download to make your desktop look closer to Vista.

    I’ll get Vista when I purchase my next notebook this year, and it is included.

    Nothing against Vista except that I’m more than happy with my XP Pro still.

  10. wnsrfr commented on Mar 1

    Barry, I think V.L.’s post identifies Vista as the #1 product at Amazon (it has multiple SKU’s but it’s still Vista). Such a contradiction to your post deserves an update to the post itself, don’t you think?

    All this comparison to the Mac OS/X vs. Vista upgrade cycle has forgotten how traumatic the upgrade to OS/X from the little happy-faced operating system was…unless of course, you just bought it with your new MAC…

  11. Emmanuel commented on Mar 1

    Gamers will have to buy Vista once games start coming out which require DirectX 10. DirectX 10, won’t work on XP. For Microsoft, the best choice is no choice.

  12. RPM commented on Mar 1

    Vista: Scary–too expensive, too much DRM. Forget it.

  13. drbrightside commented on Mar 2


    I think most people will upgrade to visit via a new computer. Anecdotally, I was at Best Buy this weekend and noticed a signficant amount of consumers “checking it out” with large crowds around many of the new laptops by HP and Lenovo. I don’t know anyone personally that is buying the software for their current computer.

  14. DelMarJohn commented on Mar 2

    I think the problem is a lot worse than simply that people don’t buy retail OS packages. The fact that Dell is selling new machines with the buyer’s choice of Vista or XP says it all. Why do I care what the OS is? Does anyone care anymore?

    It’s a web application world. The GOOG office suite only sharpens the distinction between last and next wave.

  15. JLReed commented on Mar 2

    it is not accurate to say “far chiller than almost anyone imagined” — many people were predicting that vista would flop at least 2 years ago, and the calls got stronger as the release date approached, repeatedly delayed, and microsoft cut more and more proposed features out of the final version (except for the DRM of course).

    check the archives of tech news sites, slashdot, digg, register, etc. (then compare the souring trend of opinion against the microsoft advertising hype intensity….) — the point is that this bomb was widely predicted, along with other bombs like the zune, playsforsure, etc.

  16. CDizzle commented on Mar 2

    Microsoft – 2007. GM – 19xx.

    Apple – 2007. Toyota – 19xx.

    No further questions.

  17. rebound commented on Mar 2

    Operating Systems are just commodities.

    “Virtualization” is going to change everything in just 1-3 years. (VMWare, etc.)

    We will swap operating systems in and out in real-time.

    We will all be running Vista, OS X, and Linux on the same box, as if they were just applications.

    Double-click, open up Vista. Double-click, open up OS X. Double-click, open up Linux.

    It’s a great time to be a software consumer. There are a ton of good choices.

  18. Robert Coté commented on Mar 2

    If people are going to get snippy then it could be said Vista had zero sales during the 2 years it was delayed. You could even make the case that this product is noy even Vista but XPPro version 2 as it lacks many of the core features originally promised. Worst MS has jumped the shark with the retail pricing structure. I’m sure the idea was that with the increased anti-piracy the high price was unavoidable by users. Instead the result has been to drive people to vendors who are more interested in the users needs and not the sellers.

  19. BDG123 commented on Mar 2

    Only the clueless ever thought Vista would roll off of the shelves day one. Corporate upgrade cycles do NOT work that way and never have. Home gamers and small business users, whom Microsoft likely could care less about because they’ll eventually use what they use at work, will acquire Vista mostly through a process of new systems as they have always acquired new MS software.

    Supposed experts are making mountains out of mole hills to sell subscriptions or they don’t understand the IT business cycle.

  20. Tom Barta commented on Mar 2

    “Microsoft – 2007. GM – 19xx.

    Apple – 2007. Toyota – 19xx.

    No further questions.”

    I think this is very apt. I think of MSFT as being a lot like DEC– they have a lot of years left but the growth will be negative, once people get past Outlook/Exchange.

  21. innerdaemon commented on Mar 2

    OS X Tiger is #36: not bad for an OS that’s 2 years old.

  22. me commented on Mar 2

    Since businesses have had Vista since November, when do they start buying? All of this excitement was for the consumer release.

    “NPD Group Inc. found that first-week sales of boxed copies of Vista were down 60 percent compared with first-week boxed copies of Windows XP five years earlier.”

    “THE SHY and retiring, softly-spoken CEO of Microsoft, Steve “Sounds of Silence” Ballmer is blaming software pirates for Vista’s poor sales.”

    I wonder if Ballmer will use the weather as an excuse?

  23. Tom Barta commented on Mar 2

    “”THE SHY and retiring, softly-spoken CEO of Microsoft, Steve “Sounds of Silence” Ballmer is blaming software pirates for Vista’s poor sales.””

    If he believes this, he did too many drugs in the 1960’s.

  24. Bill commented on Mar 2

    I was wondering about Vista , seeing it has a cool reception . Not surprised , another version of the same crash prone systems . I’m getting real wore out by all my PC system IE crashes . Firefox has helped reduce this , but my next system is a Mac . Up to here with Gates and his laurels . Make a system that works please!! Bill

  25. KamlaYaar commented on Mar 2

    Recently a fellow IT worker bought a DELL PC with Vista pre-installed. He had trouble with almost everything he used to connect to OLD PC. Be it printer, USB network cards or scanner. He spent last three unpleasant days downloading new drivers buying new cards. If it takes that much for a person who is well versed with computers I wonder what it is going to take the proverbial grand mother. Not goog.

  26. me commented on Mar 2

    “He had trouble with almost everything he used to connect to OLD PC”

    True. I know folks that just map to the old XP machine for printers and scanners.

  27. squik commented on Mar 2

    Today Vista Upgrades are #37. OS/X has slipped #50 — upgrading to Tiger (10.4) with Leopard (10.5) soon to be released is confusing. But, perhaps more damaging for Vista. Windows XP Home edition Full Version, which costs about $25 more than the Vista upgrade, is #38. If demand for XP is about the same as demand for Vista upgrades, things cannot be too happy in the Microsoft camp, though sales of any kind are, I’m sure, appreciated.

    It will be interesting to see the adoption rate of Leopard by the Mac community. Anyone with an Intel-based Mac should jump at it given the tangible benefits of Time Machine (easy backup/rollback), new collaboration features through iChat (e.g. screen sharing, keynote presentations, etc.), enhancements to iCal for group scheduling, and RSS support in Mail.

    The real question with Apple and Leopard is: Does Apple have a strategy here, or are they just hacking cool features while they have money to spend? I use Macs at home. I’d love to standardize my business on Macs, but with iTunes, iPods, iPhones, and Apple TVs, I have no clue as to whether I can count on Apple to be there for my business needs in two years.

  28. bt commented on Mar 3

    I’ve used windows for 17 years and am now sick and tired of it’s inability to keep my pc safe from roving bands of spyware and other crap. I refuse to upgrade to Vista. Instead, when I’m ready to buy my next computer, I’ll consider alternatives (Mac?) or settle down for a thin client. Will think about all this in a year or two when I need to upgrade. Not missing Vista.

  29. PM commented on Mar 4

    Three friends working at tech firms who puchased laptops insisted that XP (not Vista) be the installed software. After testing vista myself, I uninstalled it, after running into too many problems with drivers and software. Another year to work kinks out, at least. But then, the price is not worth the new features. Microsoft may still force us to use Vista by discontinuing support for XP. I may switch to a Mac if that happens, because the price difference between PC and MAC will vanish, and the MAC runs Windows faster than a PC.

  30. PM commented on Mar 4

    Something else…Most consumers who are attracted to Vista are dazzled by those floating, see-through windows. They assume they will get all those effects from PCs purchased at retail stores, and won’t ask too many questions. But unless you have at least a $2-300 dedicated videocard, 2GB of memory and a dual-core processor…fat chance of getting those visual effects. If you want to run games, look to a $500 videocard. That’t a lot of extra money needed for a questionable upgrade. At these prices, get a MAC. With a MAC I need to buy lots of new software…you’ll need new software anyway with Vista. A lot of my software would not run on it.
    So they stop supporting XP in two years. Big deal…people are still running Windows98. And if you want XP on your new PC, insist on it. They will remove Vista and put XP on it. Best Buy did it a week ago on a laptop purchase.

  31. bigboy commented on Mar 5

    PM, OK so lt’s be the devil’s advocate here (also do note that I have been running Vista since Beta 1):

    “But unless you have at least a $2-300 dedicated videocard, 2GB of memory and a dual-core processor…fat chance of getting those visual effects”

    That is simply not true. a machine that I am writing this from has a $32 dual monitor video card on it (PCI, not even AGP) that runs Aero and it works great. I have 1 GB of RAM and this is not a dual processor machine but a good old single proc, 2.2 GHZ, yes.

    A laptop that I bought about 6 months ago for $500 at CompUSA runs Aero too and has 0 I mean ZERO driver issues.

    OK let’s take drivers… drives are a problem yes for some people… for me personally, I did not have any issues with my hardware and I did not buy any new hardware to put Vista on. Take my 4 year old Epson scanner for example. No Vista drivers. But no XP drivers either. So I loaded W2000 drivers. Guess what – it all works.

    Software? The only software that did not run for me was some children games, and most of them did start running when I ran them in compatibility mode. Nero 5.5? My old AV software? Office? My games? Adobe stuff? Check – it all works.

    I DO beleive you should use whatever makes you happy, if that is a Mac, then go for it, new Macs are nice (mine is running Vista :). Its funny though how people complain about Vista compatibility as Apple just went through 3RD TIME changing their hardware platform leaving older customers in the dust and no future as far as software goes… Double standard?

  32. PM commented on Mar 8

    bigboy…bet Vista runs really slow on your configuration. I’ve been testing Vista also since Beta 1…and you can’t tell me you don’t have a performance penalty on that system. I’ve seen swap files swell to over 1GB under Vista. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a warmed-over XP, only XP runs a lot faster. Vista’s big thing was security, which is not all that much better, and provided at such a high performance cost.

  33. PM commented on Mar 8

    I know people who have pirated Vista. And even they don’t want to install it. Vista uses 400MB of memory just sitting there, doing nothing but running services. Who wants that?
    And Ballmer blaming pirates for low Vista sales? Pirates who don’t want it even when they have it for free?

  34. Mr. Tenacious commented on Mar 8

    I’ve been using MS products since DOS 1.0. OK, that makes me sort of old I guess. :-) A few weeks ago I gave Linux a run for its money. I installed Ubuntu on a Compaq 2105US laptop. I have been very happy with this system. It’s easily 50% faster than XP Home edition (that was previously on it) and I can do everything on this OS that I was doing on XP. Now I’m not knocking XP, but I did this b/c I simply could not justify the upgrade cost in hardware that Vista required. For instance, I bought a new motherboard for my desktop PC in October of last year. Also, I picked up an AMD 64 x2 4400 (939), and a Nvidia 7600GS. It turns out that the mother board manufacturer has no intention of making chipset drivers for Vista with this board, and Nvidia is way behind the game on providing drivers. So what am I to do? Get a new motherboard and video card? No fricken way. Now I just installed Ubuntu on the desktop, but haven’t configured it the way I like yet, but I can tell you it’s fast as hell. I may look into the next MS OS following Vista, but Vista will never see the light of day on my computers.

  35. Richard commented on Mar 10

    Microsoft have been working on XP for five years now and still haven’t gotten all the security problems solved.So rather than give us SP3 which they have been promissing;they took it upon themselves to stick another OS at us that already has security issues.If they can’t fix XP why buy Vista.I’m more than happy with XP.

  36. Technology for a reason commented on Mar 19

    Upgrading to Vista brings noting to the table. The added security is a pop up that asks do you really want to do this? Most users don’t know what to answer. A no and your app won’t work; a yes to a virus and your cooked anyway. When it comes preinstalled fine. MS will not benefit with increased revenue from this upgrade. I don;t know who told them they would.

  37. Tom Buffer commented on Mar 23

    No one looks forward to spending $200 plus per computer just to get yet another version of Windows. So what it has see-through windows. The security issues still plague MS software, and from what I hear, Vista takes a huge toll on CPU processing. Buying Windows OS software is painful not enjoyable. It’s not like getting an iPod or Zune. These devices provide pleasure and enjoyment.

  38. Steve commented on Mar 24

    I would never pay 1$ to Microsoft.

    I ‘ll wait for pirated copy.

  39. Carl Forster commented on Apr 23

    I have evaluated VISTA and sorry MS for the following reason NO WAY.
    To change 5 PC systems and 2 notebooks (all 1 and 1/2 years to 6 months old from XP PRO and office 2003 to VISTA and MS Office 2007 the following costs apply…
    VISTA Ultimate BOXED $ 995.00 + tax
    OFFICE 2007 Prof $1145.00 + tax
    Upgrade computers 7/total price $ 925.00 + tax each
    Upgrade of hardware and Installation of VISTA abd Office and transfer of data each computer $ 995.00 + tax
    Training of staff 5 staff including downtime and los sof income each $ 1525.00 + tax
    Sorry I am now out of business

  40. Phil commented on Jun 28

    When GPLv3 makes MS & Novell look stupid for trying to ‘own’ Linux on unfounded (and un-detailed) patent claims, things will really get stressful for Steve & the team. I am running Ubuntu now and a simple installation of Beyrl the enhanced Vista (glorified XP) graphics look mundane… and my rig is still quick! The average consumer is far more tech-wise and aware of MS and their questionable business morals nowadays and it will come back & bite them. You can be guaranteed that a whole lotta Linux-adopting large corporations will collaborate and find Windows patent-infringing issues if MS try to carry through with any of that FUD of late.

  41. Rob A. commented on Aug 1

    OS X (Leopard) got Linux 03 certification, tis a good thing.

    Virtualization happens right now on OS X and will be included with Leopard. Virtualization is still not viable for gaming (too much of a translation hit) — games need every possible CPU/GPU cycle and then some.

    I run Linux, OS X, Vista, WinXP — the best get things done OS is OS X (Apple), then Linux for pure learning and flexibility, then WinXP for gaming, then Vista just so I know how to separate the fact from fiction claims that other Vista ONLY owners spew.

    Vista is currently an under selling disaster, DX10 will not save the OS either as more and more folks migrate their gaming habits to PS3 and XBOX360 and WII.

    Microsoft failed, their OS is security swiss cheese, bloated beyond repair, slow, buggy, not user friendly, and doesn’t work with a lot of hardware.

    To be honest, I really don’t think Microsoft care at all about the OS any more — they didn’t drop 6 billion on an advertising company to help them self more software. They spent 6 billion so that they could find more markets to expand into.

Posted Under