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Microsoft’s Great Windows 7 Growth Lie

Daniel Eran Dilger

Windows Enthusiasts, the insulating layer of blubber on Microsoft’s monopoly whale, are excited to see Microsoft’s Q3 Windows unit licensing and profits growing faster year over year than Apple’s new Mac shipments. They think Windows 7 is winning. But they’re wrong, here’s why.
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This latest bit of misinformation comes, unsurprising, via Paul Thurrott, who repeated ignorant statistics from Tod Bishop comparing Microsoft’s Q3 2010 licensing growth year over year with Apple’s Q2 2010 hardware sales growth. (Microsoft’s fiscal Q3 and Apple’s Q2 both represent the same Jan-Mar quarter.)

The numbers: Microsoft’s Windows licensing grew 35%, while Apple’s Mac sales only grew by 33%. The problem with this simpleton buffoonery is that these numbers are wildly taken out of context. They are a statistical lie being played by disingenuous misinformation dealers in order to insist that up is down and black is white.

Microsoft: Windows consumer growth rate outpaces Macs

Real Growth vs. Partial Recovery

Apple’s growth in hardware sales has been progressively advancing by around 34-51% or more each quarter for several years. Compared to the growth in PC sales across the industry, Apple has consistently maintained about 3 to 4 times more real growth than generic PC makers overall. This was even the case in 2009, when PC sales imploded and there was actually “negative growth” industry wide; despite a global market contraction of 10.9%, Apple only saw a 3% decline in growth for its systems running Mac OS X.

Apple’s expansion has come directly from the hide of Microsoft’s monopoly, because there was nowhere else it could have come from. Apple wasn’t expanding the Mac market in some uncharted new direction, it was simply getting Windows PC users to switch in droves. Knowing as we do that Apple has been outpacing the PC industry in terms of the growth for several years now, how is it that Windows Enthusiasts have conjured up percentages that suggest the exact opposite is now occurring? By lying of course.

But that’s not all. According to these schmucks, it’s not just a case of Microsoft growing faster. It’s also a case of (wait for it…) bigger market share. “Microsoft is growing from a significantly larger base of sales to begin with, making its higher growth rate considerably harder to achieve,” crows the idiot Bishop, saying something so profoundly stupid that Thurrott had to repeat it to his own audience of morons with some extra exaggerations.

“The truth is that consumers buy PCs, not Macs,” Thurrott explained to his audience without even needing a blackboard to draw upon. “And that’s as true in the US as it is elsewhere in the world.”

Hitting Them Where It Hurts: Windows Consumer Growth Rate Outperforms Macs – SuperSite Blog

Inconvenient Facts

Except that Microsoft didn’t grow its market share by 33%, obviously. It experienced a quarter of year over year growth in Windows licensing revenues (up 28%) and profits (up 35%). But unlike Apple, this wasn’t the continuation of steady growth over a period of years. Instead, the “growth” that Microsoft experienced was a year over year fluke based on a partial recovery after hitting a deep trough last year.

In reality, Microsoft’s Q3 2010 profits from Windows were up 35% over its Q3 2009 figures only because Q3 2009 had plunged to $2,273 million, making this year’s Q3 income of $3,061 million seem like growth when in reality, it was still lower than Microsoft had reported in Q3 2008 (when the company earned $3.1 billion) and significantly down from 2007 (when it earned $4.2 billion).

Rather than really growing its market, as Apple has done in growing from 1.5 million Macs in Q2 2007 to 2.9 million in Q2 2010, Microsoft’s Windows licensing has dropped significantly, both in revenues and profits, across the same time period. This doesn’t mean Windows 7 is overtaking Mac sales. It means Apple is now twice as big in terms of unit sales while Microsoft is making a billion and change less from selling Windows licenses than it did in the same three year period.

To add some more context to these numbers, Microsoft shipped Vista at the end of 2006, making the Q3 2007 numbers an early launch that stuffed the channel with Vista. In 2008 and 2009, Microsoft was unable to sell Windows Vista licenses, with revenues dropping by nearly a billion per year and profits collapsing nearly in half. Windows 7 shipped at the end of 2009, meaning the “growth” over 2009 is just Microsoft stuffing the channel with new launch licensing. Even so, the Windows 7 launch quarter was nearly a billion short of Vista’s awful launch three years earlier.

Microsoft Q3 Windows revenues, profits

Microsoft Reports Third-Quarter Results (2009 and 2010)
Microsoft Reports Third-Quarter Results (2007 and 2008)

A Huge Lie for Windows Enthusiasts

This isn’t hidden information, it’s in Microsoft’s SEC filings and PR reports. Windows Enthusiasts know that the company’s Windows licensing revenues and profits hit rock bottom as Vista’s failed launch was exacerbated by a global meltdown in PC sales during the Great Recession. Things haven’t recovered much (and simply can’t) because Microsoft is now selling a much larger proportion of low cost Windows licenses to a huge influx of cheap netbooks rather than selling more expensive Vista/7 “Premium” and “Ultimate” licenses to high end PC users, as the company had hoped to do.

Even as the PC market refuses to grow as dramatically as it once did, the overall market’s ability to sell expensive Windows licensing is collapsing because the cheapskates looking for a knockoff deal are ending up with $300 netbooks rather than $700 PCs. That’s leaving the entire premium PC market to Apple.

And that’s where the real growth Apple is seeing–consistently year over year, and not just in a recovery blip hailed as “growth” by disingenuous liars–is happening. Apple is selling higher end, sustainable profitable hardware. Apple’s margins are much lower than Microsoft’s because the company is selling a real product, not just licensing software as a tax on PC makers.

Windows 7 is Not Beating the Mac Back Into Obscurity

When liars like Thurrott and Bishop publish information they have to know is not accurate, they’re doing more than just lying. They’re hoodwinking their audiences, Glenn Beck style, into thinking things are up when they are actually down. And they’re creating a cult following that loves to hear more lies.

Both Bishop and Thurrott also use extremist scapegoating language to vilify “them” while they position this false trend as “evidence” that Apple’s success is a sham and that real soon now, the people at Gartner who are responsible for crafting statistics to flatter Microsoft will rejigger their market share numbers to reflect the fact that Microsoft’s partial recovery in selling Windows licenses somehow means that Windows 7 is winning back people who have switched to the Mac platform.

Never mind that Gartner has already done its very best to craft false market share numbers that make Microsoft’s share look much better than it really is. The firm has gerrymandered its definition of the “PC market” to represent, not PCs sold to a specific type of users, but simply systems that are capable of running Windows.

Like IDG, Gartner includes Windows PC servers (but not a vast number of servers designed and sold to run alternative operating systems!) in with the “PC market,” and then also includes a huge new pile of netbook devices that don’t really do what PCs do (while excluding other handheld mobile computers such as the iPod touch). This balloons Microsoft’s fancifully contrived market share of worthless categories of sales while covering up the very real and valuable gains Apple is making.

Were ICD/Gartner to define “PCs” as a market that represented an actual market, rather than just a bunch of unrelated machines that are all capable of running (and destined to ship with) Microsoft’s operating systems, then it would become reported fact that Apple is eating up major market share in the premium PC market and the mobile devices market, two of the fastest growing and most profitable segments within the sham “devices that run Windows market” that IDG and Gartner have long misrepresented in their desperate efforts to cover up the fact that change is afoot and Microsoft’s empire is crumbling.

Such reality-based facts would be toxic to Windows Enthusiasts like Thurrott and Bishop, who would have to more furiously spin even more outrageous outright lies in order to deny what is happening.

26 comments

1 kerryb { 04.26.10 at 10:06 am }

Statistics are like the Bible open to interpretation and not based on fact.

2 John E { 04.26.10 at 10:24 am }

Yes, RDM is on the right track here …

what would be really helpful is a simple graph charting windows quarterly license sales starting with the intro of XP in 2001. then both long term trends and short term gyrations would be easy to see.

dividing it between US and global sales would also be really informative. i expect to see most of the growth in the last few years outside the US. here i disagree with the article – there is still much real growth ahead for PC’s in the second and third world. China for example. but – a great deal of that goes to ‘pirate’ windows not sold by MS.

3 gus2000 { 04.26.10 at 10:39 am }

According to this Google Stock chart:

http://www.google.com/finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&chdv=1&chvs=maximized&chdeh=0&chfdeh=0&chdet=1272312000000&chddm=999005&chls=IntervalBasedLine&cmpto=NASDAQ:AAPL&cmptdms=0&q=NASDAQ:MSFT&ntsp=0

Microsoft’s value is down by 21% over the last 10 years, while Apple’s is up by over 800%. But that’s all Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field(TM), and this quarterly result proves it! The last 10 years of results are a lie, propagated by the Apple Fanboy Sheep that are hypnotized by pretty boxes!

What proof do I have? Look at Steve’s name: Jobs. Jobs for everyone, right? Where else have we heard that? Maybe in…COMMUNISM??!? I just love this country so much. (*sob*)

4 mcloki { 04.26.10 at 11:01 am }

Gus2000 that last line was pure Glenn Beck Genius. Best laugh I’ve had all day.

5 stormj { 04.26.10 at 11:07 am }

The truth is, Apple’s market cap will soon exceed MSFT’s even without the fancy jiggering done by S&P. They should by MSFT and spin off Windows and take control of Office and close MSFT’s failed hardware businesses. Even if they did this as a LBO, it would probably be better for current MSFT shareholders than the 90s time warp Ballmer has them in.

6 DesperateDan { 04.26.10 at 11:09 am }

Brilliant Dan. Glad we’re back to bashing Microsoft and their shills.
Top notch old chap, you’re bang on. I read the same figures and thought MS was back on track.

Good to see that you’re better at seeing the wood from the trees than I am myself…

7 mscabot { 04.26.10 at 11:09 am }

It never ceases to amaze me, this Windows vs. Mac debate. Honestly, does anyone really care about how big or small, or what a company’s corporate culture is? Steve Jobs can hypnotize people into buying a computer, or change reality just by speaking. Give me a break. Microsoft is the most evil company in the world that only employees satins spawn to do it’s evil bidding. Give me a break. Last time I checked we live our lives and make up our own minds. If someone wants to make Apple out to be the best company ever, let them. If someone wants to make Microsoft out to be the most evil company ever, let them. I would much rather use each company’s technology and make up my own mind, and I have a feeling that is just what most people do. It all comes down to usefulness, and the littles amount of headaches for me. I have used Macs for 15 years and Windows for the same, and hands down Macs are less headaches. As far as usefulness, they are about the same depending on what you use your computer to do.

[This isn't a "Mac vs Windows debate," it's a look at what products are actually selling and the false spin of those who are pretending that Microsoft is going to take back the 1.5 million extra Macs Apple has been selling every quarter. - Dan]

8 uberVU - social comments { 04.26.10 at 11:14 am }

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by DanielEran: New: Microsoft’s Great Windows 7 Growth Lie – http://tinyurl.com/24dmuh8

9 MipWrangler { 04.26.10 at 11:41 am }

The chart says it all. Seeing it along side a similar chart for Mac sales would have really rubbed salt in the wound; I’m surprised you left it out. Really Dan, why be so PC? It’s so unlike you! :)

10 RNKLN { 04.26.10 at 12:27 pm }

Windows growing faster than new Mac shipments… I’m not sure, but aren’t we then forgetting seperately sold licences of OS X 10.6?

11 counterproductive { 04.26.10 at 2:25 pm }

@RNKLN
That could be a significant number. I don’t know what percentage of new Windows Licenses are boxed software to be installed on old computers. I suppose most new Windows Licenses are supplied with new PCs.

What a lot of people forget is that people tend to use their Macs for up to 5 years or longer and do get separate upgrade licenses as soon as they are available. I am typing this from a G5 PowerMac that is pushing 6 years, and I still regularly run a G4 PowerMac that is 7 or 8 years old. I upgraded both of these to Tiger and Leopard (though I can’t put Snow Leopard on them) as soon as possible. I did buy Snow Leopard for my wife’s iMac.

The article suggests that the big rise in Windows 7 licenses sold, is because people didn’t upgrade to Vista from XP. Or, if they had to have a new PC, they put XP on it. The dip between 2007 and now suggests that under different circumstances (better economy and better upgrades from MS), that many of the latest sales would have occurred in the past two years and thus the graph would have been evened out. Why that is counted as a great success for MS, I’ll never know.

12 JohnWatkins { 04.26.10 at 2:42 pm }

@mscabot,
Is “satins spawn” produced by “idle hands?” (You know, the “toile” of the devil?)

13 JohnWatkins { 04.26.10 at 2:53 pm }

Me to Counterproductive,
Typed from a hopped up 1999 Graphite Minitower (Sawtooth AGP) running Tiger (originally ran System 8.6.)
I’m looking to install Leopard on it to better harmonize it with my late 2007 17′ MBP running Snow Leopard. (so my bookmarks and email will sync better.) Macs go forever!

14 mikeT { 04.26.10 at 3:58 pm }

I’d be interested in seeing the number of new Macs that are also running Windows 7. I know of many people like myself that wanted the best of both worlds, and moved to a MacBook Pro running both Snow Leopard and Windows 7 instead of buying yet another another PC Laptop.

The Mac is a great Windows machine, either running dedicated in Bootcamp or as individual Windows apps on the Mac Desktop with Parallels or VMware Fusion. I’m betting that it will last longer than similar PC Hardware, run the Windows apps I need to as well as taking advantage of the great Mac iLife applications. These stats don’t tell the whole story. It’s far from a zero sum game.

15 Neil Anderson { 04.26.10 at 9:38 pm }

The nice thing about number fudging is that by the time MS figures it out, it’ll be game over.

16 tofino { 04.26.10 at 9:54 pm }

don’t hold back dan, tell us what you really think! ;-)

17 Roma { 04.27.10 at 6:06 am }

Somehow I don’t see the point of this article. The lie isn’t so “great”, because a lot of folks just don’t give a damn about the numbers. It also wouldn’t convince me why Mac is good. Because they don’t manipulate numbers? Not really an argument. Basically what you’re saying is that MS is growing, but this growth is not comparable with Apples. So what. You are also interpreting the numbers, just like MS does.

18 TheMacAdvocate { 04.27.10 at 7:16 am }

Gartner should just lump Intel Macs into “machines that are capable of running Windows”. It’s entirely consist with their current methodology, by which I mean it underscores how arbitrary is actually is.

19 ShabbaRanks { 04.27.10 at 7:59 am }

“Windows Enthusiasts, the insulating layer of blubber on Microsoft’s monopoly whale”

Friggin’ genius.

20 PhilipWing { 04.27.10 at 10:04 am }

Nothing like being able to run the Flash-based company webcast yesterday while the rest of the office was struggling to get there Windows systems to do the same, although mostly they had audio out of sync. Only issue was my audio cable didn’t work, which I should check on.

21 iLogic { 04.27.10 at 12:43 pm }

@KerryB

Another thing that is open to interpretation and not based on fact: Wisdom.

22 sleepy { 04.28.10 at 10:13 pm }

Daniel,

Haven’t you completely failed to mention the biggest fudge of them all, which is right there in Microsoft’s accounts? It reveals the whole thing as smoke and mirrors. (Just like the smoke and mirrors MS used on the way up, as covered years ago at billparish.com).

For months before both the XP to Vista, and the Vista to W7 transitions, Microsoft gave (OEM buyers) a “free upgrade” to the new OS when shipped. This meant that the final deliverables for the sale were delayed, so that under the same accounting regulation that deferred iPhone’s revenues, the sale could not be recognised until the new OS shipped. The final flourish is to re-describe these old sales with free upgrade, as new OS sales with temporary old OS install (even though hardly any of them will ever be upgraded). Result: Microsoft could adjust each OS release quarter sales to whatever figure they wanted, and guarantee “record breaking market enthusiasm” for each OS release, simply by choosing the date on which to start offering free upgrades.

…They must have left it too bit late with W7, because they had to add an extra boost to the appearance of success with a preorder 60% or so discount, whereby you could buy a full retail W7 license, (transferrable to new PC’s in perpetuity) before launch, for less than the price of an OEM license that dies with its first PC. Those sales also weren’t recognised until delivered. Naturally a very popular buy for anyone locked in to MS. Why would a monopolist give such huge discounts on a distress purchase?

23 spidouz { 04.29.10 at 9:28 am }

What about people who had to buy Windows to install it on bootcamp/Parallel/VMware because of their work… I did it on my mac.

So, it will count for “one” additional sale for Microsoft… in fact, but it’s just for the OS, not the whole computer. And unfortunately, as today, a LOT of Apple users are forced by their corporate IT, to install Windows and Microsoft components (Office).

So, in the bottom line, don’t we mix up Apples and Oranges here by watching at OS sales and Computer sales?

my 2 cents,
Phil

24 tmservo { 04.30.10 at 4:15 pm }

Dan, your argument also misses the statistical issue. The PC industry always has continuous year after year growth. And part of it isn’t converting people from OS A to OS B, it’s about people adding second, third, fourth computers to a home, or others adopting a PC who have never had one before, small business loss and gains, etc.

[Well Microsoft's big problem in 2008/9 was that "continuous" PC industry growth stalled (along with the general economy) on top of PC growth plateauing in general as the first world market matures. And Microsoft's own plans to deal with slowing PC growth (ramping up prices of Windows dramatically through artificial licensing "editions" and forced upgrades) completely failed. So Microsoft hit a deep trough that was a perfect storm of problems.

Once the economy rebounded slightly, some of those issues went away, but Vista/7 was still not selling expensive upgrades as planned, and Mac growth was still overshadowing the PC industry in general. So the issue is not one of platform advocacy, but simply me calling Microsoft and its advocates out for falsely portraying Microsoft's partial recovery from a deep trough as if it were tremendous growth on the part of Windows 7 that was beating back Apple's gains. That's simply a lie no matter what opinions you might have about how things should be. - Dan ]

The statistics MS puts out are misleading, but yours also do miss the facts as well. MS can claim “growth” in the gain of new markets, you mention netbooks, and dismiss them, but they do run a full version of “Windows” and Microsoft sells a full license for them. Meanwhile, iPod/iPhone/iPad do not run OSX, and Apple would not want them considered as such.

[No, the problem isn't that Microsoft is growing in areas I don't think are legitimate. The problem is that the PC industry is simply cannibalizing its desktop PC sales (already in ASP free fall) for low cost netbooks. That's not growth; it's replacement of increasingly profitless sales with completely unprofitable sales.

Apple is also failing to dramatically grow its desktop Mac sales, but it has observed consumer trends and long ago refocused its resources on notebooks, without dumping sales into the bargain basement cheap territory that is lacking profitable sustainability. And it has ramped up its premium notebook sales volumes dramatically, from ~700k/quarter in 2004 to 1.5 million/quarter in 2007 to 3 million/quarter in 2010. That's real growth.

Microsoft dumping licensing (much of which was free upgrades to Windows 7 on PCs to stimulate sales!) into a recovering market and calling it growth compared to its nadir of Vista is not really "growth," particularly when it isn't even selling as many licenses as it was three years ago.]

Sometimes we get too big into the “A is better! B Sucks!” we also lose out on facts. You bring up the big sales of 2007 compared to now. Two big issues with that: First, as you note, the launch table of both is very different from where it happened and is reported in a year. But more then that, Second, the time Vista was released it was done near in the same year as Exchange 2007, and ended up that FY with Server 2008 and Office 2007, which were all within that same link. MS hasn’t updated Office since then, which factors into it’s sell through factor.

[Microsoft's Windows sales aren't really cyclical or the result of cross-sales with Office or Server. People are always buying PCs and they get Windows licenses applied as a monopoly tax. Retail sales of Windows are almost irrelevant (PC users rarely upgrade; they buy new PCs), and certainly retail sales to Mac users are meaningless in comparison to OEM and corporate licensing.]

You also have to remember that MS gets to count licensing sales to those who buy Windows…. to run under Bootcamp. Yes, those still count as “sales” for Microsoft, which is why their statistic is misleading as well.

But it also means that you can’t really say “Apple is killing” because that also isn’t the case. By any standard, Microsoft has already “won the war” on the enterprise service industry. And yes, Linux is a valuable component there, but it’s not one that from an investment point is shoving money in people’s pockets so for the point of investment, it’s not a valid target. Microsoft, through Exchange and Server solutions have wrapped that market up pretty tight. Enough that Apple has went out of it’s way to integrate Exchange support in their products for enterprise.

Nothing wrong with that.

[There's nothing relevant with that. I'm not arguing that Microsoft lacks three monopoly businesses, nor that Apple is somehow going to run Microsoft out of business in all three. I'm saying that Windows, Microsoft's cash cow among its three monopoly towers (Server and Office being the other two) is down dramatically and the company is lying about "growth" to falsely present a narrative that is the opposite of what is really happening. Making a bunch of unrelated comments does not prove me wrong, it just clouds the issue. I hope that wasn't your intent.]

Of new adoptions, that is, new sales, MS grew at one rate, Apple another. But both still had growth. Undeniable growth in sales, and both had a growth in installed user base, thanks to very different reasons.

But Apple will never deny that they simply don’t ship the volume of units that say, all of the PC clone manufacturers combined do. Because they don’t. They don’t have the manufacturing capability to do it if they wanted. And apple has never made any bones about that. They make a product which sells well is very profitable, but it will never “outsell” in units sold, MS based units. Not as it sits currently.

The mobile market is different; Apple has really taken a hold there and have the breakthrough product. Which is why apple has put much of it’s focus on the mobile above all others. And there is nothing wrong with that either.

I’m happy to say I own both. There are things I can do on my Mac I can’t do in Windows. And I’d never trade my Windows7 Media Center for an AppleTV. There are great things on both product lines, and competition has generally been good. How we interpret the numbers is interesting.. but it doesn’t change the fact that neither is “going away” anytime soon.. nor do we really want that to happen ;)

25 tmservo { 05.01.10 at 10:34 pm }

Dan, my point wasn’t to cloud your argument, but to say that some of the points addressed can be managed with how we relate numbers as a matter of investment. That’s it.

I just want to point out a few things in the way you look at this, though.

You argue:

[Once the economy rebounded slightly, some of those issues went away, but Vista/7 was still not selling expensive upgrades as planned, and Mac growth was still overshadowing the PC industry in general. So the issue is not one of platform advocacy, but simply me calling Microsoft and its advocates out for falsely portraying Microsoft's partial recovery from a deep trough as if it were tremendous growth on the part of Windows 7 that was beating back Apple's gains. That's simply a lie no matter what opinions you might have about how things should be. - Dan ]

Actually, I’m not sure how this claim can be satisfied. Microsoft rarely relies on expensive upgrades; they are a miniscule portion of how money comes in. As you noted, a slowdown in desktop replacement sales hurt them, bad. The reason is because most of their desktop licensing sale has always come from turnover.. people who had old PCs replacing with new, which would mean they’d receive the new OS, etc.

You’re right that Vista, in almost every way, was a piece of crap, and it helped thwart their sale-through and drive to replace hardware, and the economy didn’t hurt that. I think the way in which the numbers should be read, which is slightly different then both, is that 7 adoption has been as good, if not much better, then they could have expected. Imagine coke coming out with New Coke, but it tastes like p—. Then, they say “whoops, mistake” and come out with Coke II. The fact that MS basically pulled this off and managed to get the adoption level of 7 up.. significantly, is a major marketing win for them. You’re right to say it cloaks the idea that it gobbles up Apple’s space (it doesn’t) but growth into new market spaces doesn’t mean it makes any impact into apple’s space at all.

But my key issue with the way you look at this is something you seem to still get wrong.

[Microsoft's Windows sales aren't really cyclical or the result of cross-sales with Office or Server. People are always buying PCs and they get Windows licenses applied as a monopoly tax. Retail sales of Windows are almost irrelevant (PC users rarely upgrade; they buy new PCs), and certainly retail sales to Mac users are meaningless in comparison to OEM and corporate licensing.]

No, I think you completely missed what I was getting at. From a revenue perspective, 2007 was large because large volume server sales make a much bigger revenue impact then say, a $99 OS. Changeover to Exchange 2007 for an enterprise can be hundreds of thousands of dollars in server expense. And while that seems “who does that” TONS of people do that. So, in 2007, when you had a huge across the board platform launch in Exchange, SQL Server 2008, Server 2008, EDS, VS.. you will have a much higher revenue for MS, because those things all factor in. So, while we say “the revenue in 2010 doesn’t look as good” part of that is because 2007 was also benefited in total revenue by the introduction of new server platforms which boost their operating system component sale through.

I see your key arguement is “Windows isn’t growing”.. part of the issue is that Windows Install base is “growing” it’s just not growing the way MS would like it to grow. The real hard-hitter for MS is that secondary market sales are increasing the microsoft user base considerably and generating absolutely no continued revenue for them. So, adoption and sale of Windows 7, and the turnover of old units, is creating a growth ecosystem for Microsoft that is difficult, and something Apple has avoided.

The Windows installed base is growing, primarily because older units “walk amongst the living” whereas in the Apple community, this could almost never happen. You don’t see a lot of apple users breaking out a PPC Mac right now. There is NO OS9 running anywhere, basically, while Windows XP and even Windows 2000 machines run around in the wild, still expecting to run apps.

Part of this is that Apple continuously made changes based on revolution that made older units completely obsolete, requiring them to be eliminated. Whereas, MS has stuck with the same base because of hardware makers and so, old machines linger around.

The biggest mistake MS made which will make this an ongoing issue is that with Win7, they had an option to go “ONLY” 64bit, which would have ended the life of many older units altogether, but it was a gamble they weren’t willing to take.

The MS base is growing, and growing decently.. and the per unit sales bear part of this. The big lie is that the real growth, the one no one talks about, is that MS is still dragging behind it a bevy of older, and older, and older second hand machines, running legit or pirated OS, on an array of turnover PCs.. and the longer that trail gets, the more difficult the road gets for them.

I’m not arguing at a whole with your point, I’m saying the way you look at the numbers is one way, but it is not, in my opinion, the only way to look at the installed base. In fact, I’d contend the growth of the installed base in this way may be just as much a problem as your contention there is no growth.

It’s just two different ways to look at the same set of data.

26 tact { 06.21.10 at 2:43 am }

Ironic isn’t it? The snipped below taken from cnet article …
“Although it has won some early praise for breaking ground in some areas, Windows Phone 7 takes a step backwards in others. In particular, it doesn’t support features like copy and paste and multitasking that were already part of the old Windows Mobile.
[...]”
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20007973-56.html

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