Windows

Bill Gates may have inadvertently revealed poor Vista sales

Bill Gates have inadvertently revealed at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this week at Las Vegas that its flagship Windows Vista operating system is faring poorly compared to Windows XP.

Bill Gates may have inadvertently revealed that Microsoft's flagship Windows Vista operating system is faring poorly compared to Windows XP.

Gates, speaking at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this week in Las Vegas, boasted that Microsoft has sold more than 100 million copies of the operating system since it was launched in January 2007. Based on previously announced figures for Windows XP, Vista outperforms XP unit sales by 10%.

According to Gartner however, worldwide shipments of PCs have almost doubled from 132.4 million units back in 2002 - where Windows XP was launched, to 255.7 million units last year.

Excerpt from IT News:

Gates' statement at the 2003 and 2008 Consumer Electronics Show thus reveal -- calculating roughly -- that Windows XP captured about 67% of the new PC market during its first year. Vista, by contrast, captured just 39%, or less than half, of new PC shipments in 2007.

Despite the many millions spent marketing Vista, the low market penetration is probably troubling news to Microsoft.

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

116 comments
janosm
janosm

What is worse for Microsoft is that Vista is almost forced on some users. A lot of laptops come with no option but Vista and no XP drivers. Also I'd say a portion of new computer buyers never heard of XP or Vista and just bought what was in the shop. I wonder whether MS will bring out a SP2 that will radically change the product or just bring out a new version of windows.

zoldello
zoldello

Software companies should make new versions of software less frequent (like every 5-7 years) and make new enhancements more frequent (every 1-2 years.) This way customers would not feel like they do not need the new versions and the frequent enhancements would still make their wallets loose if it suit their needs. If you think I am wrong, how many of you would buy Vista if your home computer already had XP? In comparison, how many of you love patches/service packs?

Absolutely
Absolutely

I hate M$ as much as anybody, but I doubt that this is taken very seriously in Redmond, contrary to the doom & gloom language in both articles. Paul Mah: [i]Despite the many millions spent marketing Vista, the low market penetration is probably troubling news to Microsoft.[/i] Paul McDougall: [i]The numbers are no doubt troubling for Microsoft, which spent millions of dollars developing and promoting Windows Vista.[/i] I suspect they'll release something less unstable with less recreational appeal, much like Windows 2000 gave the impression to newbies & casual end-users that Microsoft could "still" make a [i]Professional[/i]-grade product, despite the direct evidence provided by Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98 & Windows 95, that Microsoft's development strategy is tilted toward the video game-player market so heavily that quality is job 0. Unless MBA's are beginning to receive brain transplants with their degrees or home users are registering for IT classes [i]en masse[/i], I would bet on Microsoft continuing to get away with their shoddy workmanship. [edit: pasted McDougall quote twice twice]

MadestroITSolutions
MadestroITSolutions

This may not be the place but I don't have much time so... Can you guys change the picture on top so that it shows the author of the article? It just drives me nuts that every time I click on a newsletter article about someone I get a picture of someone else on top, with the article's author header. I understand the design, but at least show the picture of the author next to the name for better understanding and recognition. Thanks!

renynet
renynet

Hardware requirement specially for(only for) graphics is too much so no existing users must be converting. New PC users also must have used older XP to get better performace. Even using office 2007 at my office PC has really many it slower. Reny Mathew

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

My point was that one company says Vista is a top seller, yet another says its not doing too well. I have tried Vista and I did not find any benefit to upgrading from XP. XP is quite stable and before you Maccies start on "that" part of the discussion. I have already voiced my feelings about which one is more secure (short answer neither) any software is vulnerable to viruses and attacks.

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

Recently I read a blog on how Dell "Claim" that a large majority of their machines being sold to consumers are Vista Equipped and only a minority hav XP. Vista in 2008 is what ME was in 99/2000. Microsoft spent too much time procrastinating about Vista and B/Sing on its wonderful features and didnt spend enough time on the OS itself. Sure Vista looks nice but its problems are its downfall... forget about bells and whistles and give us a decent OS. 98 and XP are the best of Windows OS's get back to basics Microsoft.

elnator
elnator

Why on earth anyone would be surprised by this is my question. There are so many issues with VISTA and compatibility with legacy applications that it's pathetic. The organization I work for did a pilot with VISTA on over 800 machines around our enterprise and we found that we would have to buy all new systems in order for the systems to run as well as they do now under XP. Furthermore the enterprise found that even though many of their applications are less than 2 years old they'd have to go out and buy all new applications in order for them to work with VISTA as well as none of the software vendors offered patches to bring the current apps into compliance but, rather, required the purchase of a whole new product. I myself recently upgraded to VISTA and found that several of my own applications (nero anyone?) also ran into that. I also found that I had to buy a new wireless card in order to connect properly in VISTA. And lastly I found out that there is a very well known problem with VISTA wireless networking that Microsoft refuses to acknowledge which is a direct result of them combining the WLAN service with the WZC service. In that it causes spikes of lag for some VISTA wireless users every 30-60 seconds. MS has yet to offer any fix or patch to rectify this. Users are forced to use XP drivers and 3rd party applications to eliminate the lag spikes. In short: VISTA in and of itself is a nice OS but it suffers from several problems: 1) You almost have to upgrade your system if you want to get the same performance you had in XP. 2) Odds are you will have to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars upgrading applications in order to use them in VISTA 3) VISTA still has various issues, especially for gamers, which linger to this day. More and more I find myself thinking of VISTA in the same way I used to think of Windows ME

jabailo1
jabailo1

Bill Gates skill is his ability to spot a trend and attach himself to it. He is the Ultimate Barnacle when it comes to technology. The fact that he released the hull of the U.S.S. Microsoft probably means it's due for an iceberg.

LightSpeed
LightSpeed

Poor Bill, maybe we should take up a collection for him. Microsoft Motto: "Well sell nothing but garbage and everyone is dumb enough to buy it"

joshuabj
joshuabj

I may get on a rant here so this will probably be long but i'm glad that they're thinking on a more graphical level. e.g. improving the gui. However, they need to think on the level of production also and come up with some good programming that will help cause the graphics not to be so process intensive instead of copying a partially original product like OS X. I can get my XP system to have the same graphical features of a mac or vista's flip 3d without sacrificing processing power. I just wish someone could come up with something original (like bumptop or beryl) or give credit to whoever created what they stole. Windows has been doing multiple desktops for years, Linux has had that even longer, and yet mac calls it spaces and sells it off as original. Granted the mac version is a slight bit more eloquent than the windows version, but not by much. I'm ok with improvement of your os by using someone else's idea. Collaboration is a good thing. Just give credit where it is do.

James Schroer
James Schroer

I would like to know how many Vista installs are there not sales. We had a office store go out of business that was selling vista cheep. I know about 15 guys that bought them and only 1 has kept it installed. One of them it kept asking him if he was allowed to use his own mouse. I haven't touched it yet but from what I've heard I'm glad I haven't been put through the bad experiance.

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

It's no surprise at all, but now there's enough information to compare to WinXP when it was released. Previously MS kept touting the unit sales trying to paint a good picture, when in reality Vista is not being well received, especially in the business world. And I have to agree with the previous comments that have been made. I, fortunately, have not had to deal with Vista so far, and I hope to keep it that way.

michael.baldelli
michael.baldelli

No Freakin' Way!!! It's a horribly annoying O/S and I'm rather happy that it's sales are down when compared to XP. Maybe they'll get the message to stop trying to dumb down the operating system..

north2007
north2007

But I couldn't find Winxp drivers for my new laptop...

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

who bought a system with Vista and then dumped Vista for their old XP or Linux. I know people who got anew laptop with Vista on a special deal and immediately reformatted and loaded their old XP - to buy the same laptop with XP was dearer than the special deal with Vista, he knew enough to be able to replace the system himself. That'll show as a Vista sale but it's not out there in the wild.

mhbowman
mhbowman

that the majority of these "sales" came from people that bought a new computer and either: a. Didn't have the option to have a different OS b. Didn't know the had the option to get a different OS c. Didn't care because they were going to install something different anyway.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

In the case of HP computers offered for sale in South Africa, something close to 100% of models are pre-installed with Vista, and of those sold in 2007 something less than 10% have been returned to the repair centres for "downgrading" to XP. Leaving aside the relatively small section who are doing it themselves, or having their reseller do it, I'd say that Vista has more than 39% - of our market, anyway. Obviously HP's market share is not 100% but it is huge, and I'd say a cross-section of HP's share is probably very close to representative of the market as a whole (the no-name brand segment included).

serrin
serrin

It's interesting to note that Windows Millennium Edition, while never touted as a premier product, failed in a similar manner. Vista marketing certainly plays a part in the perception of the failing, but the end result is the same; Microsoft delivered another inferior product that doesn't deliver anything new or worthwhile to the public. Personally, I was disappointed by the fact that they took out all of the decent features originally planned for the OS, specifically the WinFS file system. Now all you get is a pretty interface that consumes 3 times or more of the resources required to do the same job with Windows XP. What a let down.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

hehe.. it's a good point but "almost" can probalby be left off. Forceing upgrades is a long standing business strategy tactic for Microsoft. As much as each new verison of Windows must support everything back to Dos, they do everything they can through marketing and shelf saturation to force users too the new system. With Vista, it's functions will all but force you to upgrade your other machines to Vista or they won't work together over a network (and that's WinXP and Vista not playing nice). The only place I can support it as an end user and tech type is in games where DirectX really needed to be rewritten from the ground up. I think game houses not supporting openGL or something truly cross platform along with MS only releaseing DirectX on Vista is where the force upgrade exists in gaming. That's a special case though.

seanferd
seanferd

I saw the same thing via http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1109 which has some other amusing links. Best to find the Technet CDs and/or download all the servicepacks, updates, and KB pages, et cetera, while you still can. As a matter of fact, do it before microsoft.com becomes any more unusable. That site gets harder to navigate and search every couple of months. It was just fine about 6-8 years ago, but they are rapidly and constantly improving it downhill.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Just download all their knowledge base articles now, and sell them when they become valuable. Er, I mean re-write their contents for your tech support team, and provide assistance. Whatever.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

We're working on a solution to this issue. Thanks for your feedback.

seanferd
seanferd

Nice one, centurion. Like it, like it.

wtr
wtr

Over the past few months I have read countless forums discussing the shortcomings of Windows Vista, How sad it is that Microsoft refuse to except failure and correct the problem in the short term but force people to await the next generation as was with ME, as a technician we are spending a large amount of time resorting peoples machines back to XP, come on Microsoft either fix MEII or replace it quickly. For those of you thinking about trying the OS DON"T!!! stick with XP and invest your money elsewhere.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

Has anyone wondered about what those numbers represent when a manufacturer is forced to put vista on a new machine. Remove all of those "forced" installs and then look at the true picture. With regards to the security, MS could save some face by offering a "FREE" security assessment for peoples PC that are running XP and then offer them the tools to fix any issues. Just a thought.

DuctTapeNHammer
DuctTapeNHammer

I just ordered a new Lenovo laptop for my boss and opted to have XP OS instead of Vista. Also building a new tower system, and ordered XP SP2 for it. Too many issues with Vista not working with existing hardware /software. We have 1 system at the office with Vista (my guinea pig) and we have had some problems with an HP printer and our Trend Micro SMB. The small stuff, like iTunes and DVD authoring software not working was a pain as well. I decided that there will be no new systems with Vista, at least not for another year.

brian.payne
brian.payne

I bought a new Dell with Vista (because I didn't have an option for XP), and none of my peripherals worked anymore. (When the Vista drivers for my MULTI-function printer were finally released, it became a MONO-function printer) After complaining to Dell after three months of suffering, they returned my whole system. I then bought a new one with XP (which miraculously was now offered as an option!), and returned to having a functional Home PC and once again a MULTI-function. I dread going to Vista, or having to help anyone else with their copy of that garbage...

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

Add XP or Linux in a virtual machine on top of Vista.

Jaqui
Jaqui

a lot of people who will put linux on a system won't buy it with a preloaded windows os, no matter what version of windows. sorry Dell, HP, Gateway ..... if I can't order a single unit with no os from you, I most definitely will not order a large number of units from you, since you wouldn't satisfy my requirements for one, you have no proof that you would for a large order.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

but I can say that in the USA, HP consumer models are all Vista, but, the business models are all XP with an option for Vista. last I looked at least!

Snak
Snak

We have agreed with our suppliers that all new machines come with XP and definitely not Vista. Why? Because we LIKE XP. We can support XP. All our applications run very well on XP thank you. What BG has obviously failed to realise is that XP is good enough - Vista is just not needed. Windows 95/98 NEEDED to be replaced with something better. XP did a great job of that, which is why it sold well. And now we have a stable OS, why change it? It aint broke.

SteveHom
SteveHom

I just replaced all of our company's HP notebooks (50+ units) but I got a special part number from HP so I could get them pre-loaded with XP. These were HP corporate level notebooks not consumer level. I will not buy any system with Vista for our company. Since I build my own systems for personal use I just move my XP license(s) to the new system. I will not buy parts that do not support XP.

akayani
akayani

It's happened with every release of a new OS by Microsoft. NT had very poor take up. No one wanted to give up Win 95. etc. I have Vista on one computer and XP on another. Without question Vista is a better OS. It's not just a look thing. BUT it takes time for new drivers for old proliferals to be released. (If they come out at all.) And we don't all chuck out our old hardware devices just to suit a new OS no matter how good it might be. I bet by the end of the year there will be plenty of those commentators that have given Vista a hard time saying... "Why haven't you all upgraded this is fantastic!" They do it with every release. The DRM issues are a bit of a concern. But I think the market will sort that out. For a good article on Vista DRM see... http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html The biggest mistake MS ever made was not to push NT harder and inventing that god awful win 95 in the first place. That whole 'save dos programs' was a foolish set back for the whole industry. It's just BS from a group of people who failed change management 101.

pepoluan
pepoluan

... you can! Go to this site: http://www.heise-security.co.uk/articles/80682 There, you can download a script which will download all Microsoft hotfixes for WinXP and Win2003, and even compile them into .iso files so you can burn to a CD. Just take this CD around, and autorun it. Everything (including IE7) will be then installed on the target PC. Been using it ever since Microsoft took down AutoPatcher :)

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

Arrgghhhh...incoming software pirates, man the cannons and fire when ye ready...arrrggghhh.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

applications, switch to Kubuntu and get an even better system for much less.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

I have dreaded this for over a year. I have used it (lightly), but was told recently I had to move myself onto it. So, now I am installing. Maybe I will even boot it up in the next couple of weeks. But moving to it??? Hmmm. Does anyone know where I can find a job out of state (Ca.). that will NOT be moving to Vista?

lastchip
lastchip

Mine lasted less than a day!

Dee101
Dee101

Will MS release its next OS in time to upgrade from XP to that, I wonder? I've played with Vista and some of it is quite fun ... I just can't imagine using it in a production environment at this time. Maybe SP2?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

Windows NT when it came out was originally touted by MS as a server OS for the corporate sphere. You put NT on the server and Windows for Workgroups on the user PCs. At the same time the Win 9x series came out as the stand alone PC Windows for home users. NT was expected to be networked, while Win 9x was not. Later, MS brought out Win NT Server and Win NT for the desktop. Just a slight name change. Win 2000 started life as Win NT5 but came out so late they changed the name. The core kernel is the NT kernel, this is also true of Win XP. I agree the market will sort a lot of things out. Much of the market is moving away from Windows as they find Vista just is NOT worth the cost for the majority of people - especially business people. It offers a lot for the home user who wants their computer to be as much a media centre and play station as it's a computer. But offers less than Win XP to those who need a computer to do basic office computing functions. All over Europe government departments that used to run MS Windows are moving to other platforms. Even USA government departments are moving away from MS as they can't afford the costs involved in doing major upgrades of the software for each employee. MS used to have the Office package such that it worked on any version of Windows that came out after it was released, but not anymore and they are no longer fully backwards compatible. My old MS Word for Windows ran on Win 3.11, Win 9x, Win NT, Win2K and Win XP but won't run on Vista. My Office 2000 won't run properly on Vista and Office 2003 has issues when loaded on Vista. The only Office package that works well on Vista is Office 2007, the one built specifically for Vista. To set up a new system here in Australia for Vista costs around A$2,000 for the retail packs of the software - Vista and Office 2007, then add in the machine. Not worth it to most small and medium businesses.

Fregeus
Fregeus

I think your comments demonstrate a lack of experience in the field. A lot of applications ran on DOS for companies and just as you cannot "force" someone to go to a new OS, you cannot "force" someone to change their application just because you want to. MS is powerful, but not that powerfull, yet. Companies were willing to change to NT as long as their applications still work. It one thing to change OS on all your workstations, it another to change the OS and all your applications (not counting the training charges that would entail) too. There was a reason why companies are reluctant to change. Change cost money, and they want to spend as little of it as possible. Vista just does not offer anything for industries that warrant the expenditure of the new OS and hardware. Plain and simple. TCB

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

was designed for businesses, not the home, right? The Win 9x line was for home, and the NT line was for the workplace. Mainly it enhanced server/network connections and was more stable, but less robust, and more secure than 9x. NT did not fail at all. NT pushed Novell out of business, and pushed Unix based systems back a bit as well (in the workplace).

seanferd
seanferd

I am curious as to why you are required to use Vista. Is it simply that the whole shop has converted to Vista, and nothing else will be supported? I guess my question in that case would be, "Why is the shop using Vista?" I am just wondering what it is that Vista offers that outweighs its own downside and the features of XP.

seanferd
seanferd

for starting Windows out of a DOS-only session, yes? What I was thinking of with the NTFS4DOS, however, was being able to edit/delete files on an NTFS partition without booting from the HDD at all. Like for removing malware that has taken system privileges. The neat thing about NTFS4DOS is that it is small, free for non-comm use, and reads NTFS natively rather than through the more common workaround methods.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

to load Win XP when the system doesn't have a working 'boot from cd' process. Boot of the floppy, get a working DOS, then use the old 'CD' command to switch to the wanted drive, dig down through the disk directory to the folder / directory 'I386' and find the file 'WINNT.EXE' this is the original load file for the NT kernel. It takes a bit longer to run than the cut down version available through the 'disk boot' process, but it will load the system. Most people don't realise this old command file is still buried in there, despite the MS CD boot system not using it for many years.

seanferd
seanferd

That was pretty much my point, my Deadly friend. I certainly lack your depth of experience, however, so I have few first-hand examples. I do know quite a few businesses what use DOS for inventory/ parts lookup, though. I was quite disappointed that real low-level DOS disappeared from the later MS OS. Avira NTFS4DOS fills that gap quite nicely (as far as I can tell), which quite handily avoids winlogin et al if you need to fix something on an NT-based system.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

designed for. Much of the early computer controlled manufacturing equipment was designed to use DOS systems and they're still in operation around the world - some have life spans that will continue to see them in use for another decade or more. Some years back a company my cousin worked for bought a new piece of major manufacturing equipment, it was computer controlled and used MS NT 4 as the OS. The company that made the systems had so much trouble with problems with the OS itself that they rewrote the application and switched all the existing systems from Win NT to Unix - very little trouble after that. That equipment has a 40 to 50 year life span - so it'll be around quite some time.

seanferd
seanferd

getting those critical DOS re-written for a reasonable amount of money. Then you just need to cross your fingers...