Microsoft: 240M Windows 7 licenses sold since launch

Tomorrow, Windows 7 will celebrate its first birthday. Microsoft kicked off the party a little early this morning, posting an announcement filled with hype and endorsements—plus the news that, so far, "more than 240 million" Windows 7 licenses have been sold.

Is that a lot? Well, as we told you back in '08, Microsoft managed to sell over 100 million Windows Vista licenses during the first year of availability. Windows XP sold about 89 million licenses during its first year.

Since the PC industry is a perpetually growing beast, one must look at the numbers above within the context of PC shipments to compare them fairly. Let's look at XP vs. Win7 first, since both OSes came out in late October of their respective launch years. Gartner reported 132.4 million PCs shipped in 2002, the year after XP's release, and it expects PC shipments to hit 367.8 million in 2010. Ergo, Windows XP sales were equivalent to 67% of 2008 PC shipments, while Win7 sales should work out to 65% of 2010 PC shipments.

Making a direct comparison with Vista is harder, since that OS came out in late January of 2007. If we throw caution to the wind and match up the 100 million Vista licenses sold during the first year with the 264 million PCs shipped in '07, however, we get a much lower figure—only 38%. Yes, it looks like Windows 7 is proving more popular than Vista was. You heard it here first, folks!

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