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Windows 7 actually does sell 7 copies per second (7.086, to be exact)

Microsoft has come a long way since Windows Vista failure

The headline just seems like utter nonsense, a made-up statistic churned out by Microsoft’s hype machine: “Windows 7 sells 7 copies per second.”

That’s what I thought anyway. 

Did Windows 98 sell 98 copies per minute? Did Microsoft Office 2010 sell 2,010 copies per hour? Did anyone, let alone 23 people, actually watch Jim Carrey's “The Number 23”?

Probably not, but this “7 copies per second” story looks like it might actually be true.

The official Windows Team Blog on Wednesday announced that Windows 7 has sold 150 million licenses, making it “the fastest selling operating system in history with 7 copies of Windows 7 sold every second.”

Windows 7 hit general retail availability on Oct. 22, 2009, meaning Wednesday of this week was the 245th day the operating system was available. With 86,400 seconds in a day, that gave Microsoft 21,168,000 seconds in which to sell 150 million licenses. If exactly 150 million licenses were sold through June 23 that means sales progressed at a brisk 7.086 copies per second.

Microsoft has been hyping the 7 copies per second angle for at least a few weeks now, but it’s not clear if the statistic was true at first. A previous Windows Team Blog post said “In the first 6 months that Windows 7 has been on the market, we have sold over 100 million licenses,” and that “in the first 6 months Windows 7 has been on the market, 7 copies of Windows 7 were sold every second.”

Sales of seven copies per second for six months would amount to 110,376,000 copies, a bit more than the 100 million figure quoted above. If sales were just 100 million through six months, that would amount to 6.34 copies per second.

But assuming the 150 million license sales numbers are accurate through this week, then Microsoft has actually exceeded the seven copies per second figure.  

Numbers aside, the important thing is that Windows 7 has by and large met customer expectations. “Windows 7 has fueled a surge of goodwill toward Microsoft, with the company's customer satisfaction ratings reaching a record high,” as data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index recently showed.

By comparison, Windows Vista sold 20 million licenses in its first 30 days of availability, or 7.72 copies per second. But sales slowed down significantly. By June 30, 2008, Vista had sold 180 million copies in 518 days, or 4.02 copies per second.

Those are still good numbers, but Vista was widely criticized and even Steve Ballmer admitted that Vista "was just not executed well.” Microsoft has certainly come a long way since.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter.

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