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WinME sales surged in first week – then crashed horribly
The Grand Old Duke of Redmond...
The strong sales performance for Windows Me cited by Microsoft in its last quarterly report was apparently confined to just one week, according to Onechannel.net Channelmetrics data. Onechannel reports that online sales jumped over nineteenfold, to more than $1,000,000, in the first week, but promptly fell back to almost pre-launch levels.
That's sales of Windows 98 before WinME's launch, of course, not sales of WinME - that would be silly.
Onechannel monitors online sales, but the numbers for the first week seem broadly in line with PC Data's estimate of 250,000 copies of WinME sold in that period. The rapid fall-off however makes it pretty clear that the initial sales were a combination of pent-up demand, Microsoft and partner promotional activities, and pre-selling. Once that had washed over the numbers went straight back to where they were before.
Clearly there has been no mad, sustained rush to buy Windows Me, and Microsoft's optimistic noises for the analysts will not be reflected in the company's bottom line. The Register traditionally points out whenever Microsoft ships a new OS into the retail channel that people don't buy operating systems at retail. The Register is traditionally right, no matter how much marketing money and co-op deals Microsoft chucks at the matter.
Microsoft's words on WinME sales may to some extent be justified by how they shored up sales in the quarter. Microsoft's software sales fell overall by 6.5 per cent in the period ended 30 September, but Windows operating systems sales went up 24 per cent. Software sales as a whole dropped nine per cent, so one would presume that Microsoft managed to partially resist the tide by promoting WinME like crazy. But what's it going to launch this quarter? (Nope - MSN Explorer is free, remember?) ®