After a week of unprecedented fanfare, Microsoft’s new Windows 95 operating system sold an estimated 1 million copies at retail in its first four days on the market, Microsoft said Monday.
Depending on who’s talking, that makes the personal computer software a hit, a minor disappointment - or has little to do with anything in the much-trumpeted Windows 95 “revolution.”
Microsoft officials said the sales were record-setting and better than they expected.
But Rob Enderle, an analyst at DataQuest in San Jose, Calif., said, “We did expect a bigger first week because of the amount of the publicity.”
Still, Enderle estimates Microsoft has shipped 8 million to 11 million copies of the software so far, and should reach DataQuest’s earlier forecast of more than 29 million copies shipped by the end of the year.
“I think for the initial rush, it sounds about right and sort of parallels what we’ve seen elsewhere,” said Fred Langa, editor of Windows Magazine. “I think the big question is whether that rate will be sustained.
“I don’t know if it will sell 300,000 copies a day, but it is going to sell a boatload of numbers by the end of the year.”
Microsoft has never said how many copies of Windows 95 it expects to sell, beyond “a lot.”
Despite what it called an “unprecedented level of preparedness,” Microsoft also said Monday that its customer help lines were jammed.
Although Microsoft apologized for delays, Russ Stockdale, group manager for Windows 95, also noted the crush of calls demonstrates the demand for the program.
Windows 95, a faster, more-powerful successor to the Windows 3.1 system now running on 100 million PCs worldwide, went on sale Thursday in a whirlwind of hype and publicity stunts.
Brad Chase, general manager of Microsoft’s personal systems division marketing, said the opening weekend sales exceeded the company’s expectations, and were “better than the recordsetting receipts for ‘Jurassic Park’ in its opening weekend and more than double those of ‘The Lion King.”’
The company also said Windows 95 broke the record for the previous fastest-selling software, its MS-DOS version 6 upgrade, which took 40 days to sell 1 million copies in 1993.