Sales Fizzle Despite Windows XP $200m Mega-Launch

05 November 2001

Two hundred million bucks of relentless promotional hype shifted just 300,000 units of Microsoft’s Windows XP in the week following its October 25 blast off – well below the numbers achieved by Windows 98 during its launch week, reports NPD Intelect, a specialist in point-of sale data for hi-tech products.

According to the firm’s senior analyst Steve Koenig, XP “was right in between 98 and ME” [Windows Millennium Edition, which hit 200,000 sales in its first week].

One reason for the ho-hum sales, believes Koenig, was the offer of XP-bundled PCs six weeks ahead of launch by the Big Three manufacturers Compaq, Dell and Gateway.

Retailers were less than euphoric about Microsoft’s marketing effort: “We kept hearing $200 million, $200 million," said one re-seller, referring to the company's claimed marketing budget. "But I don't think Microsoft did a great job in promoting it.”

In Dallas, Michael Flink, vp/gm of technical marketing at Levin Consulting said that XP has a lot of great features which had not been adequately emphasized. Microsoft’s main theme, “It crashes less often than before,” was not the best sales message, Flink opined. “It’s too bad because it really is a great OS.”

[WAMN’s editor too was underwhelmed by XP, having installed it with eager anticipation on October 26 only to uninstall three days later after learning that virtually no other software or hardware manufacturer was able to offer drivers that worked with XP – a fact later confirmed by Microsoft’s technical support unit, which roundly blamed the other manufacturers!]

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