Windows Vista sales draw cautious optimism

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Windows Vista sales draw cautious optimism

Analysts praise early numbers, but long-term outlook still up in the air.

Reports from the first week of sales for Microsoft's Windows Vista suggest that the outlook for PC distributors is good, at least in the short term. 

A report by research firm Current Analysis said that Vista's release caused a jump of 173 percent in PC sales for the week ending 3 February, with Vista-equipped PCs accounting for 92 percent of those sales. 

The report said that Vista Home Premium was the most popular distribution, accounting for 70 percent of total PC sales. The stripped-down Vista Home Basic claimed 22 percent of the market.

The remainder was mainly Windows XP systems, while Vista Ultimate captured a "small share" of the market.

"The sales spike is a welcome sight for all PC players, given that the preceding five weeks had seen sagging sales for PCs due primarily to a limited amount of inventory," said the report prepared by analyst Toni Duboise.

Among those companies banking on a big Vista debut, Current Analysis said that HP came out on top. The company landed more than 53 percent of total sales for both Vista Home Premium and Basic systems. 

"While HP was clearly the most prepared OEM partner in this first round of Vista offerings, the stakes are high for all manufacturers," said the report.

"Vendors must be well positioned to take advantage of Microsoft's first operating system release in five years."

Current Analysis was slow to declare Vista's launch a success so early into the game, however.

"The initial success bodes well for Vista, but a sustained effort is required in order to herald it as a complete success," said Duboise.

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