back to article Windows 7 sales leave Microsoft coffers unstuffed

Sales of boxed copies of Windows 7 are thrashing Windows Vista's early history, but at a price - the money that Microsoft is making on them isn't keeping up. Windows 7 unit sales were 234 per cent higher than Windows Vista's during the first few days of both operating systems' release, according to analyst NPD Group's weekly …


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  1. Bryan Anderson

    Economies Of Scale?

    I am quite sure that there would be a LOT less piracy of Windows and a LOT higher/faster uptake of new versions if the upgrades were sensibly priced. The cost of Windows is built in to almost all new PC's and Laptops so why can't MS offer downloadable updates for just £20/$30 or so? I'm trying out a Windows 7 update right now, and although it's much, much better than Vista, I have yet to see £60 worth of upgrade from my old XP so it's a tough decision.

    Quick online £20 out of my PayPal account and a downloadable ISO and I'd do it on the day it was released, as would many, many others I am sure.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Family Pack?

    AFAIK, there was no Family pack for XP or Vista(the wow starts when?). Microsoft are clearly losing revenue on this new model, sorry the model they copied from Apple compared to XP or Vista sales.

    Still not worth the money though.(for obvious reasons)

  3. FreeTard

    Downloaded the MSDN version

    ...but didn't bother installing it. Vista runs perfectly well with 90% of the services disabled on 2GB RAM. I know it sucks, and I am actually a linux head (RHCE certified twice - among others), but I like having one windows machine around, and the licence came with the PC so Meh.

    I'm gonna wait until SP1 is released before testing it, coz I've been that soldier many many times before with MS distros.

  4. Stu 18

    Upgrade only from vista

    Obviously MS thinks quite differently about prices outside of the US - over here an upgrade costs $250 to $400. Of course that is only from vista - xp doesn't count.

    At these prices you can't seriously expect the majority to upgrade - its really just a matter of sitting out the time gap to when older hardware dies and people buy new pcs.

    I think windows 7 is a massive relearning exercise from windows xp, so am happily entrenched in the old - but also see the inevitibility of replacement eventually.

    But lets be clear, ms has done nothing to encourage upgrade, in reality only geeks with burning pockets will be shelling out that kind of money for more of the same.

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  6. Kevin 6

    Replace XP?

    yea right. I have windows 7 x64 installed on 2 PC's so far and truthfully I'm thinking of going back to XP on both. One pc BSOD's whenever it tries to do a shutdown, than reboots instead of turning off, and the other one restarts at random. Along with the pain in the ass start menu(without a option to go back, and no CSmenu refuses to work on 64bit for me) XP is looking mighty nice.

    BTW XP never BSOD'd on the one PC, and never randomly rebooted the other. I've also had linux installed on both with no issues so its a windows 7 x64 issue. BTW had x86 installed at 1st on the shutdown BSOD pc and it didn't have any shut down issues.

    Only thing I do not hate about windows 7 is my bluetooth headset finally works (could never get it working on XP)... that is the only reason I haven't removed win7 yet.

  7. George 24


    Windows 7 discounted? Even at its most discounted, Windows 7 is still expensive. As per M$ coffers, I am sure that they are still very stuffed...

  8. Mike C 1
    Jobs Horns

    Ripoff Microscum bastrrds

    US $76 (A$85) for home premium upgrade. Fuggin lying stealing microscumbag bastrrds ...price in Australia is A$150.........ripped orf agarin

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  10. frymaster

    upgrade only from vista?

    an upgrade license is valid if you currently have xp. you might not be able to do an upgrade _INSTALL_ - though you can, going from 32-bit to 32-bit - but you can certainly use an upgrade license to do it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the way to measure the success

    is to calculate the 'mean time between swear words' MTBSW - now in my office there is 1 mac user and 1 windoze vista user, vista generates about 4 swears an hour (MTBSW - 15min), which goes up to 20 - 40 (MTBSW 3min min.) per hour during windoze updates where all the icons get stuffed or the sound card stops working, do you really think windoze 7 will be better? go and see the new mac ad....

    Now the mac generates 0 swears per hour - it does what it says on the tin, it just works.

    i left M$ behind just before vista hit - and i am so glad i did, now my macbook pro is just humming along i am working (well mostly - its friday and i like to poke windoze users) and everything is cool in my universe.

    ok, you pay for the hardware - but how much would you pay for something that just works?

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Price gouging for what?

    Yep, that'd be right in America W7 upgrade is US$76 (AUD$85) but in Oz it's AUD $150+

    I'd buy it at $85.

    Why isn't it selling for a comparable price?

    It's an easily duplicated product, shipping is almost nil if the DVDs are pressed & packaged locally.

    This is why XP is looking better and better to me.

    There just isn't a compelling reason to change.

    Particularly not at those prices mate!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    all you haters...

    Windows Media Center is well worth the cost of the OS on its own.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    And then a GNUlinux user walked in and and laughed at both one for having a flacky OS and the other for spending more on his. The swearing started from then on :-) BTW has your macolyte upgraded to snow cat yet and found a chunk of apps don't work ;-)

  15. James O'Brien

    @Steve Davies 3

    Yeah you are mistaken. Atleast on the Vista family pack. They have it (or is that had?) one for Vista.

  16. RichyS
    Gates Horns

    Why has anyone paid for a boxed copy?

    The RC was available as a free download for ages. By the time that runs out, it'll be time to buy a new laptop anyway.

    At least, that's the option I took for my wife. She paid the tax for Vista -- no way is she paying Microsoft to fix their mistakes.

    And her next laptop will be a Mac.

  17. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Won't be upgrading for a long while

    Everything I need to do works under XP just fine.

    Win 7 is just Vista with a makeover, and I haven't heard that that makeover included removing the DRM issues. For that reason alone, I will stay with XP as long as I can.

    I'm sick of all these things that are being sold with control over what the user can or cannot do. It's MY PC dammit, it should be doing what I want it to, not what someone else lets it do.

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  19. Def Silver badge

    Re: the way to measure the success

    My MTBSW for Vista is probably around 5 minutes or so. My MTBSW for Windows 7 is way way lower. In fact I don't believe I have a mean time yet. I've ooohed and aaahed at all the shiny bits. I've laughed at the way logon takes an extra minute when you have a solid desktop background, but I've rarely sworn at it - if ever.

  20. Bryan Anderson
    Gates Halo

    @AC 04:03 6th Nov

    You know what? I've never been able to afford Mac hardware so don't have the benefit of having used MacOS other than ten minutes playing with someone else's. But I have used Windows (3.1, 95, ME, 98, XP, Vista and now 7) and I don't understand this thing LInux and MacOs users have claiming that their OS's "just works" and Windows doesn't.

    All my Windows installs have "just worked". There's the odd occasion when you need to download a driver (thankfully easy considering every hardware manufacturer supports Windows) and I admit a reboot at the start of every day helps, but things work.

    I've tried Linux so many times - but each time there's always some things that just don't work - video cards giving wrong resolutions, USB and/or laptop WiFi not recognised, printers and scanners, etc, and fixing those aren't easy. As I said - don't know enough about MacOs to comment.

    All I know is that Windows DOES "just work" for me.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Re: the way to measure the success

    I don't think you have an office. Enjoy your fanboy dollhouse.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Bryan Anderso

    Typical Linux user response: Your to dum to use you're PC. Go back to Windoze you retard. If you're video driver is wrong just modprob xorg-server-flibbertygibbit, add "arcane=true" and "stu=128,64,0,0,d,a,r,f,t" to XOrg.conf, restart X. Now re-shell the WifFi into a non-root module and simply edit "/etc/net/thing.conf" and you're away. What could be simpler? Windows users are just soooooo dum man!

    And that is the problem.

    Despite leading the way in many, many areas (Aero is just a bastardised compiz; the software repository system is just brilliant - each app doesn't need to run its own update service), Linux is still too hard for a normal user. If you are *lucky* (or have spent a lot of time researching and buying the correct hardware) it will "just work".

    But most people want "plug 'n play" as they see the PC as an appliance. That's fine and totally correct. It should "just work" for them. The enthusiasts and geeks want to play/fiddle/learn and as they make the Linux distros, they do not understand why their target users do not give a shit and do not want to wade through reams of out-of-date documentation (it still talks about editing "xorg.conf" FFS).

    This is why Linux fails, and this is why Linux will continue to fail; which is a great loss to IT and end-users and it could promise so much.

  23. Toastan Buttar

    XP working fine for me right now.

    Windows 7 seems like a nice version but I can't see any huge advantage to running it on my current home PC. Sure, it'll be nice to have it bundled when I upgrade my hardware but XP does exactly what it says on the tin for me. There are no killer apps within Win7 itself and no killer apps which require Win7. Any software house would be crazy to release a product in the next couple of years which was incompatible with XP.

  24. Andy Watt

    A little off the point? But anyway...

    I see this thread has turned into a "windows hater / it's OK" type thread... who'da thunk it?

    To those talking about MacOS "just working" - this is the real point. Your operating system should, as an ideal, be something you are very rarely "aware" of. This is user friendliness 101, and extends to all the areas your OS encompasses (esp. in a modern internetty world):

    - Ease of use: using file explorers, taksbars, launching applications, generally getting stuff done

    - Security: protecting you against threats from malware, spyware and other tedious shit

    - Updates: updating your OS to enhance the first two points.

    The simple truth is that while windows is working OK, it pretty much fulfils these three. But when it has issues, they are often MAJOR issues (BSOD? In Win7? For god's sake), and sorting them out is a pain in the arse because of the millions of potential hardware combinations Windows can run on. This holds true for Linux too, with the added frisson of open-sourciness (which is fine if it's your bag and you want to get your hands dirty).

    I can see now that the only solution if you want a machine with an "invisible" OS which fulfils the three points above (oh - and doesn't break the bloody bank when you want to upgrade as well, ta M$) is to go macintosh. The initial outlay, while still a barrier, will be repaid a millionfold because the mean time between _disasters_ and _annoyances_ will be reduced to close to zero, thanks to perfectly matched and developed hardware and software. At least I bloody hope so. What an irony that Apple's approach should yield a machine which is (relatively!) safe in the modern internet world.

    I haven't gone mac yet (but will soon). Don't plan to go windows 7 at all. Simple truth, to stay with windows is to keep an OS whose ubuquity is based on legacy ownership, not software quality.

    Windows isn't bad, it's just not good enough, and not on a level of Oooo Aaaah pretty UI, under the hood the thing simply wasn't ever secure enough to be hooked up to the rest of the world.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @all you haters...

    Grow up...

    OT: 7 (6.1?) is a massive improvement over Vista, however, it is well overpriced. It is really just an update to Vista, albeit a significant one. £25 would be about right for an upgrade from Vista (sorry XP users, you didn't suffer Vista, you'll have to pay more!), as well as dropping all the unnecessary SKU's, much like a well know fruit company from California...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win7 ain't that bad...

    Sure it's not worth the price, but it's a good enough OS. Better than vista, but more bloated than XP exactly the same as comparing Windows 2000 to XP.

    Linux also is not that bad if you are willing to learn about it a bit and expect to be finding stuff out on forums. A lot of Linux thing do just work but there are exceptions. As all the software is pretty much made by people for free. The motto is always, if you don't like it write it yourself... it's nowhere near as bad as it was though.

    MacOSX mostly just works too ^^. Apart from the stupid bugs with updates to the kernel, all is good.

  27. Jolyon

    @A Watt & ac success measurer

    "I can see now that the only solution if you want a machine with an "invisible" OS which fulfils the three points above is to go macintosh."

    You might equally well go for a Psion Series 7.

    Or a BBC Micro Model B.

    Either of which I'd be perfectly happy to use as they 'just work'.

    If they were in any way able to do what I need doing.

    Your Philippe Starck lemon juicer may well be both beautiful and functional but lemons are not the only fruit.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    It's all about the huge corps tho - in reality

    It really doesn't matter if any one of us likes windoof or not. Personally the last ever version I installed was an upgrade from 98 to 2000, but about 1 month later that box got repurposed as a firewall and has been running an old but adequete version of Redhat ever since. For me, (and I accept that I am 1 - a techie and 2 - not someone who requires any specialist windows only software), there have been usable alternatives since about RH7.1

    The real measure of sucess will be whether or not the big corporations with 30,000+ licences move away from xp, and as I see it, they _can't_ or _won't_ because they have literally millions of intranet pages and home grown web based apps that can't run on any version of IE thats > 6

    As a contractor, and one who works primarily for large financial institutions and/or the MOD I can say, with confidence, that not one of the organisations I've worked for in the last 5/6 years are in a position to go IE 7 or higher, nor will they be in the next 2 years. And these are not obscure companies. Most people reading this will put money through, or do business with these organisations, directly or indirectly in the next year.

    I suspect that there are many many orgs in this position, probably more are than not - and they'll be asking themselves the question - do we rewrite our entire intranet for IE8 and go through this again in 6 years? Or if we're gonna rewrite anyway do we go standards compliant rather than tailor to IE and leave our options open going forward?

  29. NBCanuck

    It works

    I bought a copy of Vista 32-bit when I built me last PC (last Sept.) and had a nice quick and clean install. I never had any issues with it.

    This summer I pre-ordered a copy of Win 7 Home for two reasons:

    1) Vista had to much baggage and even Microsoft was going to be writing it off. Since I was going to be keping my PC for a while I might as well move up while the price is right.

    2) Decided the time was right to go to 64-bit version (so Windows could see all 6 GB or RAM)

    I did a nice clean install, which I must say was the quickest and easiest install ever. It found all of my drivers (except an old TV tuner card (which was old and cheap anyhow). No problems. Some of the ease-of use features are actually quite handy. No complaints. of the reasons I had no complaints with Vista is that I had all new hardware when I intstalled it. Quad core Intel chip, lots of memory, good vid card.

    When you buy a Mac, Apple limits your selection of hardware, and forces you to pay premium prices. They have a limited number of hardware they need to support so everything plays nice.

    Windows has to deal with a vast number of components from various manufactures. They can be mixed and matched in a PC in many different ways and there is always a chance that you can come across some that don't lay nice together. It will happen. BUT you do benefit from being able to put a system togher for a lot less money than a Mac.

    If you look at the price of a Mac, and build a PC from the top hardware vendors using high end components until you approximate the cost of a Mac, you will doubtless have a pretty kick-ass machine that will not have any problems with Windows.

    ...then again...there is a lot more software out there for Windows....and Microsoft cannot control what kiind of crap you choose to install, becuse you all install totally legally purchased software from only the top brand vendor, right?

    Hey, both M$ and Apple make good OS products and each (rightly so) have their fans. But it remains that Apple users will likely have fewer issues because they are restricted to approved hardware, and are limited in software. If Windows users spent more on their hardware and were careful in what software they installed they would have an equally satisfying experience.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Rewarding Failure

    "Revenue, though, is only 82 per cent higher than that earned by Windows Vista"

    Oh deary me, poor Microsoft.

    I can attest that I contributed my tiny fraction to that revenue, and the reason is that I *had* to update from the mewling abortion that is Vista (though after seven failed update attempts, Vista still achieved a phyrric victory by forcing a clear install).

    As a result I have bought two MS OSs over a time period in which I would expect to only buy one - so where is Microsoft's incentive to improve? One wonders whether they learned this trick from the ME-XP forced upgrade cycle...

  31. Tim Cook

    "Just works"

    I think the "just works" thing is interesting - it's fair to say that Windows (in most if not all it's forms) does "just work", and that's exactly why it's remained so ubiquitous - you pop it on any old PC, or buy any old PC with it on, and there it is - just working. Sure it'll have the odd hiccup, sure it may not always work the way you'd like, but there's no denying that for most of the time, and with the vast majority of hardware, it does just work.

    Linux certainly can't say the same - not without a great deal more effort in the selection/install of hardware anyway - and as devoted as its fans are and as unfair as they may feel this is, it'll never challenge Windows as a result - not on the desktop. Never has, never will.

    Mac OS X is something else though. Fair enough it (generally) only runs on Apple hardware, so you could say it shares some of Linux's limitations, but it is plug and play in every other respect, and user friendly to the very core. So it "just works" as well, if not better than Windows - but at the same it's doing something much more. Because underneath that "just working" OS which is keeping the user happy, it's also far more secure and stable by design, so it carries on just working that much better. And that's where my money is.

  32. Piro


    "I've laughed at the way logon takes an extra minute when you have a solid desktop background"

    Christ, I thought you were kidding, but a quick google results in many results of this happening. Gotta try it out when I get home. How on earth could even Microsoft screw up something as simple as a single colour background?

  33. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    @ ac 13:37

    ".... literally millions of intranet pages and home grown web based apps that can't run on any version of IE thats > 6....."

    We certainly have (certainly many thousands anyway). I haven't found any of it that won't play ball in IE8 with compatibility mode on though (and "View Intranet pages in Compatibility mode" is the default).

    It took a minor tweak to the Intranet zone security settings (enabling cross domain data access) to get it 100% gripe free.

    Anyone still trotting that out as an excuse isn't trying hard enough.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    W7 tco?

    How many people paid for a Vista licence with a new computer. Then realized is sucked and paid for a XP "downgrade". Then paid for a W7 licence?

  35. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Win7 should be cheaper

    It was developed in a fraction of the time of Vista as they didn't spend 3 or so years travelling down a dead end only to scrap it and start again.

    Surely development costs were much lower on 7? so either M$ is practically giving it away or they're doing some creative accounting?

  36. Daniel Hall


    Ive had an action pack Win7 pro running for about 3 weeks now, and its erm, good!

    Apart from......

    older programs (namely my music prod software) not working :-(

    and it freezes up every so often, when strangly I click and drag a box to highlight more than about 10 items..bam,, and randomly freezes every now and then with IE8 open for more than about an hour, not had the time to trial and error this,

    BUT apart from that I really like it, especially as it was free! :-D

  37. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Why should MS care?

    Sales of Win7 are assured simply by not selling XP or Vista anymore. This is because MS have a monopoly on "OS that can run Windows apps". They earned that by being the most popular windowing system for DOS. Later, they also produced a 32-bit OS that offered a second platform for Windows apps, but it didn't create much interest until 2000, when they stopped selling DOS. (Funny, that.)

    Ever since then, the stats have shown that hardly anyone ever upgrades. They wait for their PC to fall apart and then they buy whatever MS are selling. They have no choice, because their investment in apps is so much greater than their investment in hardware-plus-OS. (I lump those together because the OS costs almost nothing to OEMs.)

    Even Vista eventually sold in respectable volumes and it was almost universally agreed to be inferior to XP. But what can you do if XP is no longer available?

    And so it will be with Win7, unless that nice Mr Shuttleworth can get an LTS version of Ubuntu without the installation problems we've seen recently and with a version of WINE that runs most apps that were originally aimed at XP. I'm writing this on Kubuntu 8.04, but I write Windows apps for a living and I'm not holding my breath for that alternative to Win7.

  38. Arctic fox

    Not a MS fan but...

    Let us agree that Vista utterly failed to live up to expectations and suffered from elephantiasis, OK? Right, glad we got that over with. Now let us further discuss this idiotic comparing of XP (with SP1, 2 and 3 PLUS a shitload of patches etc.) with the straight from release version of Win 7.

    XP BEFORE SP1 was an abortion, yes you heard me, an abortion. Many appear to have a very selective memory with regard to what XP was like when it first came out! I have XP Pro, Vista and a newly installed Win 7 running at home at I can honestly say that it is the first time ever that the "right out of the box feeling" with a NEW operating system was as it should be. In fact I installed it dual-boot on the same machine thats running XP and can make a very direct comparision. It is a FAR better OS straight from the box without service packs than XP is with three of the f-----kers! It just installed, talked to all my hardware without exception and is significantly faster than a clean install of XP (SP1,2 and 3) and MUCH less clunky (of course) than a clean install of Vista (SP1). Vista will soon be history (thank God) and I will be installing Win 7 on that machine as well. I'll keep XP as the secondary OS back of Win 7 on the portable just in case I get any programme compatibility issues. Other than that Win 7 is, so far, a pleasure to use. MS are still taking the piss with their prices though, big time. THAT I entirely agree with.

  39. stim

    love it

    i love windows 7 :)

    i am not alone...

  40. woodmans

    oh no, not again......

    sheeesh...just bought a new laptop toshiba L450D. win 7 home premium. 64 bit. Short on RAM, upped to 4Gb. Added the missing bits (antivirus, malwarebytes, etc). BLUESCREENED!

    After a lot of p*ssing about, learning more than I wanted to know, 7 troubleshooter tells me WDDM doesn't like the video driver! (it's a radeon hd3200) this might not be M$'s fault, probably AMD's, or Toshs' but as a user (on his day off from work) I am mightly pissed off....

    and linux is complicated?

    I sense 7 is very, very fragile, marginally better than Vista, but nahhh, stick with XP if you're working, this is just a beta release (in a hurry) making vista definatley an alpha, which joe public is dumb enough to pay for....actually, that does it for me. It's going back to store as not mechantilable quality. (yes, I checked for updates, new drivers, all the website.s...) - and MS - goodbye..

    I stick with XP until you produce something the pirates think worth nicking,

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