Windows 7’s launch may have turned in an impressive 234% growth in sales over Vista, but at least one industry analyst report is suggesting it may not be enough to bring Microsoft out of the red. Boxed copies of the software enjoyed strong pre-orders, but as many of you know, the vast majority of these were sold at a significant discount with an average selling price of only $76 in the week ending October 24th. Sales of PCs through the OEM sales channel also grew by 95% during the launch week, but it has since settled down considerably.
According to the report, Microsoft’s fortunes in 2010 will largely depend on whether the global economic conditions improve, and if IT budgets increase along with it. Strong sales to consumers is one thing, but getting businesses to embrace a tech refresh is the real trick to Microsoft’s recovery. Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell suggested that his company is planning for the worst, and is being “reasonably cautious” about the prospect of enterprises adopting Windows 7.
"It looks like the Win7 inspired upgrade cycle can start in late 2010 and run through early 2013," Katherine Egbert, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in an Oct. 12 report. "We expect new hardware purchases to precede the software upgrades by about 6 months." Either way, business will need to replace aging hardware and software eventually, but the big question for Microsoft is “when”.