Gates gets even bigger XP sales number to boast about

Well well, what a surprise...

Windows XP has now achieved a record number of Microsoft record sales announcements. The most recent announcement, made yesterday by Bill Gates himself at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, was that Microsoft has now sold over 17 million XP licences since its launch, and that it is "our best-selling release of Windows ever."

As we've said in the past, and as we propose to stop saying shortly because we're bored with it, it's vitally important for Bill to have record sales numbers to talk about, no matter what the true bottom line is. The 17 million combines OEM WinXP licences sold with new PCs (or more properly, sold to the manufacturers of new PCs, who then hope to sell them to us, but maybe haven't yet) and retail sales. The retail sales figures for the period will have been somewhere in the region of one million, if the numbers NPD Intelect came up with last month are anything to go on.

Note that although NPD's retail numbers showed XP underforming the initial sales of Windows 98, Bill's delirious numbers from yesterday allowed him to say that XP sales were 300 per cent higher than Win98 and 200 per cent over WinME in the same period. He then went on to claim responsibility for a sales boom based on XP: "We've seen a significant upturn in sales of digital cameras, printers, and other peripherals and software that enable people to experience their PC in a new way." Well of course you have - shedloads of this stuff was bundled with the holiday season XP PCs with the specific intention of getting them to shift.

What's really happening is of course is that Microsoft's ability to push the early adoption of a new OS by PC manufacturers has increased immeasurably since Windows 98, as indeed have PC sales levels. Windows XP therefore is indeed the most successful version of Windows ever, but that is entirely a function of the ever-increasing strength of the Windows franchise. And barring further major atrocities, The Register now proposes to lay off XP sales hype stories for the foreseeable future. ®

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