Windows XP Sales Modest

Despite a purported $200 million marketing campaign, the launch of Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system was only a modest success, moving just 300,000 units since Oct. 25, less than Windows 98 sold for the same time period, according to NPD Intelect.

Steve Koenig, senior analyst at the Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD unit, said Microsoft’s last consumer OS release, Windows Me, sold around 200,000 units for the same period. “[XP] was right in between 98 and Me,” said Koenig.

Koenig said one reason for the relatively slack sales was Microsoft’s decision to let PC makers like Dell, Compaq and Gateway sell XP-based machines six weeks prior to the launch. In previous launches, Microsoft had let the PC vendors distribute coupons for a free upgrade, but not systems sporting a new OS.
While saying the launch wasn’t a total disaster, retailers said they were disappointed with sales of Windows XP, Microsoft’s latest operating system upgrade and lay the blame on the company’s marketing of the product.
“We kept hearing $200 million, $200 million,” said one retailer, referring to the company’s stated marketing budget. “But I don’t think Microsoft did a great job in promoting it.” The retailer added that sales are unlikely to pick up during the holiday season.

Michael Flink, vp/gm of technical marketing for Levin Consulting, Dallas, said XP has a lot of great features, but Microsoft had a tough job pointing them out. “‘It crashes less than before’ is not the best message,” he said. “It’s too bad because it really is a great OS.”