Windows Vista Sales Top 100M

Many businesses are still waiting until after Vista SP1 is released before considering an upgrade.

Microsoft has sold more than a 100 million Windows Vista licenses in the year since the new operating system was released, and the company has grown its client business by about 20 percent over the same period, company officials said Jan. 24.

The software company also released the second refresh of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Jan 24 to the 15,000 core beta testers. The software has not been made available for public download.

Vista SP1 is also still on track for release to manufacturing later this quarter, but Microsoft officials have said they haven't set the final date. That decision will be "based on quality, so we will continue to track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date," a spokesperson said in a statement.

Microsoft also released the second refresh for Windows XP SP3 on Jan. 23, which the company is hoping to release to manufacturing by June 30. But "timing will always be based on customer feedback as a first priority," the spokesperson said.

In a statement releasing its second-quarter financial results, Kevin Johnson, the president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, said the software maker was "pleased with the progress of Windows Vista in the market. We've hit our stride with partners and customers and are looking forward to the release of our first service pack later this quarter."

Vista sales contributed to the overall strong revenue growth the company reported in its fiscal second quarter that ended in December. Microsoft's revenue grew 30 percent to $16.37 billion on the back of what company officials said on Jan. 24 were "robust holiday sales and enterprise demand."

But, despite these numbers, Vista has had a slow start with businesses, many of which have decided to wait until after Vista SP1 is released later this quarter before considering an upgrade to the latest edition of Windows.

Microsoft made the release candidate for the service pack available in December, which was followed by the release of a "refresh" earlier this month.

Many business are hopeful that Vista SP1 will deliver the improvements Microsoft has been promising.

One such firm is CoreBrand, which helps companies understand, build, express and measure their corporate brand. The company is looking forward to the promised LAN/network performance improvements as well as the other improvements that Vista SP1 promises to bring, according to Jurgen Altziebler, the interactive experience director for CoreBrand in New York.

But other customers, like Gary Wilhelm, the business and financial systems manager at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, have already downloaded the SP1 release candidate and are running it on test machines to make sure that its internal applications are able to run, and to see if the service pack resolved some of the issues it identified.

Microsoft also bowed to pressure and announced Jan. 21 that it will allow all versions of Windows Vista to be licensed for use in a virtual machine environment.

But, Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, remains upbeat, saying that demand for its products remains strong from both businesses and consumers in the United States, while growth in emerging markets is even stronger. "Looking across Brazil, Russia, India and China, our field revenue reached a combined growth rate over 65 per cent this quarter," he said.