Judging by its initial sales, Windows 7 is certainly proving more popular than Vista.
Microsoft sold 234 percent more boxed editions of Windows 7 than it did Vista in the initial releases of both products, according to research released Thursday by NPD Group.
In actual dollars, Windows 7 has also been more successful than Vista. However, early discounts on pre-sales copies and a lack of a promotional boost behind Windows 7 Ultimate led to revenues only 82 percent greater than those of Vista.
"Ultimate was a much bigger part of what Microsoft did with Vista, whereas this time I think they not only kept the price very high, but really kept the focus on the Premium product and the Premium three-pack," explained the author of the report, NPD's Stephen Baker, to CNET News. "Most of the promotional fire that they've put out there has been focused on those, for example, 'Buy a computer, get a $50 copy of Home Premium.' The pre-sales were all pretty much focused on Home Premium."
NPD declined to release actual sales figures for Windows 7, but the percentages help tell the story.
Web statistics firm Net Applications also found early adoption of Windows 7 to be strong.
Sales of PC hardware running the new OS didn't fare quite as well. Though growth in PC sales for the Windows 7 launch was at its highest level for the entire third quarter, it wasn't as strong as during the Vista launch, showing a 6 percent decrease from Vista's initial days.
A mixture of different factors affected the sales of Windows 7 PCs, notes Baker. Vista was launched in January, which traditionally offers a better sales environment than October. Also, the new OS was hurt by sales of PCs with older operating systems, which made up 20 percent of all sales during Windows 7 launch week. In contrast, PCs with older operating systems made up just 6 percent of all sales when Vista hit the market.
Baker doesn't think the current recession had a bearing on the lower PC sales for Windows 7's launch. "We've seen pretty strong sales growth on computers all year regardless of the recession," he said. "People have been buying more units of PCs all year than they had in 2008. At least from a unit perspective, we haven't really seen much impact on the consumer PC market from the recession."