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Microsoft has released its first sales figures for its new operating system Vista - and has declared the launch a resounding success.

More than 20 million units of the new OS have been shipped since its launch, more than double the number Windows XP managed to sell in its first month.

Microsoft is keeping tight-lipped on the regional breakdown for these figures, so there is no way to tell as yet whether the new software has found a definite fanbase in Europe.

However, the overall figures may not be as spectacular as they first seem. The 20 million being bandied about by Microsoft includes copies of the product sold as an upgrade, a standalone product, and shipped with new PCs and laptops.

It probably doesn't take into account those who have reverted to their old XP system after experiencing problems with Vista. The internet is full of angry posts about how installing Vista caused devices to stop working, caused programs to slow down or simply that the software was buggy.

In addition to these facts, it has been noted by several analysts that the PC market is significantly larger than it was when XP was launched five years ago. Adjusting the figures to take this into account, it seems that Vista could simply be matching XP sales.

Meanwhile, it seems Microsoft is trying to entice more users to take up Vista by cutting prices. The discount scheme the tech firm currently offers to US small businesses and home users buying extra Vista licences has now been extended to Europe. From 26 March, EMEA users can use the Windows Vista Additional Licence programme to install the same edition of Windows Vista on up to five additional PCs owned by the original licence holder at a 10 per cent discount on the suggested retail price.

The availability of the new scheme was announced on the Windows Vista Team Blog by Nick White, product manager on the Vista launch team.

The question is if the discount will go far enough. The post on the Vista blog was followed by a number of complaints arguing for a greater discount.

"Honestly, it leaves much to be desired (and I speak not as a Linux or Apple zealot), especially as you can easily find Vista discounted by 5-7 percent at Amazon.com or marked down by about that much at retail stores like Best Buy," said one poster. "In fact, with the sales tax rate in most states, it may actually be cheaper to buy it at Amazon than at a 10 percent discount from Microsoft."

Microsoft may yet have some work to do to convince the tech industry - and their customers - that Vista is a resounding success.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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