I started noodling on sales numbers for Win7 when I saw this July 11 story from PCMag.com “With 400M Windows 7 Licenses Sold, Microsoft Pushes for Demise of XP.” These numbers came from a Microsoft announcement that same day, and started me to thinking about how many months of sales Windows 7 has behind it now. Let’s see: October 2011 means three months in 2009, 12 months from 2010, and 7 months so far (as of these numbers) for 2011, for total of 22 months altogether. 400/22 = 18.18…, so the company continues to hold an impressive run rate for Windows 7 sales. That means they should rack up another 100 million units every five-and-a-half months — at least, until Windows 8 makes the scene next year and a new version comes along to start cannibalizing sales from the old one.
Windows 7 has had a pretty good run. But XP users still outnumber Win7 users by a nearly two-to-one ratio (49.69% vs. 27.92% as of the latest NetMarketShare numbers this morning on 8/3/2011). I have no trouble understanding why MS feels it necessary to whine, beg, plead, and cajole corporate users to jettison XP and upgrade to Windows 7. But with Windows 8 rumored to make an April, 2012, debut, you might say that Windows 7 is caught between the rock that is Windows XP and the Windows 8 hard place, as far as corporate IT buyers and planners are concerned.
Watching how Windows 7 sales fare after Windows 8 hits the market should be very interesting. If history is any guide, end-users will jump on the new OS immediately while enterprise and business users will wait anywhere from 1-3 years to jump onto that train. Amusingly, I think this means big corporate Win7 adoptions will finally hit the tipping point, at just about the same time that Win8 hits the streets. I’m not sure if the reduction of end-user sales will simply offset or exceed the onslaught of business Win7 adoptions and deployments. But it should be easy to tell, by whether the monthly Win7 run rate stays put, dips, or jumps!