"Microsoft's program of early low-cost pre-sales, high visibility marketing, and aggressive deals helped make the Windows 7 software launch successful," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "In a slow environment for packaged software Windows 7 brought a large number of customers into the software aisles."
While boxed software sales were up compared to the Vista launch, PC hardware sales had more of an uphill battle. PC sales growth was higher than any week during the high volume back-to-school third quarter, but wasn't as strong as growth during the Vista launch. Total Windows PCs, however, were up 49 percent in units year-over-year and were up 95 percent over the week prior to launch. But, PC sales growth during the Vista launch was stronger, soaring 68 percent over the prior year's sales and 170 percent over the week preceding the launch. Windows PC sales were down 6 percent compared to PC sales during the Vista launch week.
"A combination of factors impacted Windows 7 PC sales at the outset, but the trajectory of overall PC sales is very strong leading into the holiday season," said Baker. "Vista had a slight advantage at launch, as January traditionally has a bigger sales footprint than October. The other hurdle Windows 7 faced was sales of PCs with older operating systems (XP and Vista) were high, making up 20 percent of sales during the Windows 7 launch, compared to just 6 percent of older operating sales during Vista?s launch week."
Microsoft's Windows 7 went on sale around the world in October. The new operating system made its global debut to generally good reviews. Among the new features in Windows 7 is a redesigned taskbar for launching programs and switching windows, enhanced ability to share files with other PCs, improved photo and video editing software and the ability to stream digital music or video to other devices.