Vista sales hit 88 million, up 47% since July

Number of copies sold represents nearly a 47% increase over the 60 million copies sold reported by Microsoft in July

Microsoft this week said sales of Vista have hit 88 million and the company highlighted a number of customer migrations it says signify that users are gearing up to switch to the year-old OS despite recent surveys that say many are taking a cautious approach.

Company officials say the ebb and flow of new contracts and expiring contracts means the overall number of volume licensing copies of Vista doesn't change dramatically from quarter to quarter.

In addition to the 88 million copies of Vista sold, Microsoft said 42 million PCs now have Vista licenses via volume licensing contracts signed by corporate users. Microsoft used the same 42 million number back in July when it discussed Vista uptake at its annual meeting for financial analysts.

The Vista numbers were tabulated during Microsoft's first fiscal quarter, which ended September 30. The financial results of that quarter were reported October 25.

The numbers of copies sold represents nearly a 47% increase over the 60 million copies sold that was reported by Microsoft in July.

Vista shipped to corporate users on November 30, 2006, after five years in development.

A recent survey by King Research, which was funded by systems management vendor Kace, showed that 90% of 961 IT professionals surveyed said they have concerns about migrating to Vista and more than half reported they have no plans to do so.

The respondents showed concerns that Vista would reduce stability and introduce too much complexity into their environments.

"Stability in general was frequently cited, as well as compatibility with the business software that would need to run on Vista," says Diane Hagglund of King Research. "Cost was also cited as a concern by some respondents."

The report showed the 44% of respondents have considered non-Windows operating systems, such as Linux and Macintosh, to avoid the Vista migration.

A recent Forrester report showed that 52% of respondents have no plans to roll out Vista or don't know when they might do it. The study shows 11% don't plan to start a rollout until 2009, and another 6% are waiting until 2010.

The study also shows that 88% of companies with 5,000 to 20,000 users have standardized on XP. In fact, demand for XP is still so strong that users forced Microsoft in September to extend XP's availability another five months.

Microsoft's continued optimism over Vista adoption is likely in part fueled by the fact that it plans to ship Vista Service Pack 1 around the end of February 2008.

Last week, it released an RC Preview of SP1 to 15,000 testers.

Service Pack 1 is historically a milestone many users wait for before they consider migrating to a new Microsoft operating system.

But not everyone is waiting.

On Tuesday, Microsoft said Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Columbia Sportswear, and India's Larsen & Toubro Limited Engineering, Construction & Contracts Division (L&T ECC) are in the process of rolling out Vista.

CHLA plans to roll out the OS to 4,000 employees over a three-year period, while L&T ECC has 2,025 PCs deployed with Windows Vista. L&T ECC plans to reach 5,000 Vista desktops by June 2008. Columbia Sportswear is in the pilot phase of its Vista deployment and plans to upgrade the majority of its 3,000 desktops by the end of 2008.

The trio of users all cited security and management as Vista's top draws.

Microsoft earlier this year reported that Continental Airlines plans to roll out 10,000 seats of Vista by the end of this year and that Banco Bradesco in Brazil has rolled out 70,000 seats this year. Microsoft itself has rolled out 100,000 seats.

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