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MS forecasts XP will generate £13.2bn in UK

But everyone's got to buy everything

Microsoft is forecasting the launch of Windows XP will generate £13.2 billion in IT sales across the UK in the year following its launch.

The figure includes software upgrades, new PCs, and other bits of kit like printers, memory, scanners, CD-Rs, digital cameras, and the rest.

Microsoft's UK group marketing manager Nick McGrath used the figure to fire up members of the Personal Computer Association at their annual conference.

He came armed with gung ho high expectation data culled from various market research organisations. It went like this: There is an installed base of 24.7 million PCs in the UK. Of these, 7.4 million of them are capable of being upgraded to run Win XP.

Of these 7.4 million, 2.5 million are in the home, and 4.9 million are used by businesses. If all these machines got an upgrade, and paid full price for it (£89.99 for the home version, £169.99 for the professional edition) then this would generate revenues of £1.058 billion.

Microsoft doesn't quite expect a 100 per cent upgrade hit rate. "I didn't sign up for £1 billion as a revenue target," said McGrath.

But he pointed out that the big number wasn't really with the OS upgrade market, it was the 17.3 million PCs, the PII systems and below running Windows 95, which are deemed not up to the job of handling XP. These people are "going to see XP, but they're not going to be able to run it," said McGrath.

And this is how you come up with the £13.2 billion sales figure which was just what the PCA members wanted to hear - they're system builders, vendors, and dealers.

McGrath's advice to his audience was to leave users of Win 2000 alone. "You can catch them with a future version of XP."

But NT workstation users are a different matter. "That's low hanging fruit. Go and get them. And if they're on a 9x platform they need to upgrade. In a business environment they need to run 2000 or XP."

XP will be launched on 25 October if you've not put a little mark in your diary. ®


McGrath admits to "still getting goose bumps" when he watches a video showing the highlights of Microsoft's launch of Windows 95.

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