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Windows Vista shipments estimated at 90 million for first year

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Framingham (MS) - IDC today released first projections of Windows Vista’s likely impact on the existing Windows market. The market research firm believes that 90 million units will be installed next year. But only the consumer market is expected to adopt Vista almost instantly, while businesses will wait at least until 2008 for a broad deployment.

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Microsoft may be missing the prime shopping season of the year with Windows Vista, but IDC’s report indicates that the impact may almost be negligible. The firm believes that Microsoft will be able to ship about 90 million units within the first 12 months after launch - which will take its first step tomorrow with the introduction of Vista Business.

To put that number into perspective, Microsoft shipped about 67 million copies of Windows XP, in the year after the software’s launch on October 25, 2001. If Microsoft can achieve IDC estimates, the company would see a 34% gain over first-year XP shipments. That number, of course, also is due to an increased number of potential customers worldwide. Ovum analyst David Mitchell recently said that he would expect a similar percentage of XP users to transition to Vista as 2000/Me users to XP five years ago. According to Mitchell about 12-14% of PC users migrated within one year and he expects about 15% of today’s PC users to switch to Vista in the same time frame.

IDC, however, believes that there will be substantial differences in transition behavior among different market segments. While consumers, especially those who are buying a new PC, really do not have a choice but adopting Vista, businesses will take their time, the firm said. During the 2007 calendar year, Windows Vista Home products are estimated to account for 90% of new Windows client operating environments deployed by home users ; Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise will account for only 35% of the new Windows client operating environments implemented by business users, IDC said. During the second year of Vista’s availability, business installations will reach a market share of about 80%, according to the market research firm.

For the consumer space, IDC expects a wide gap between the shipment numbers between the Basic, Premium and Ultimate versions of Vista. Vista Basic, positioned as upgrade from the current XP Home, could account for 67% of installations ; Vista Premium, an upgrade from the Media Center Edition of XP and minimum requirement for running Microsoft’s new AeroGlass user interface, is expected to be installed on 30% of the migrating PCs ; the high-end Vista Ultimate, which users will need to run dual-processor systems such as AMD’s 4x4 platform, will reach a 2% share, IDC estimates.

Windows Vista Business will officially launch tomorrow for enterprises as well as small business owners. The consumer versions of Vista will be available on January 30, according to Microsoft.

To participate in the strongest shopping season of the year, Microsoft has been offering a Vista upgrade initiative since October 26. Computer manufacturers that are part of the program are offering their customers the opportunity to upgrade to certain versions of Vista and Office 2007 for a $10 fee. However, those upgrades are typically limited to a XP Home to Vista Basic and XP Media Center Edition to Vista Premium. XP Home users who want to upgrade to Vista Premium will have to pay a significantly higher fee (typically $80).

Home users, who are migrating their existing PCs to Vista, will have to invest at least $100 for the Vista Basic upgrade. The Premium upgrade will cost $160 (full version $240) and Vista Ultimate will ring in at $260 for the upgrade and at $400 for the full version.

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