Microsoft Windows 7 sales top 240 mln in 1st year

Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:00am EDT

* Windows 7 fastest-selling operating system

* Drives Microsoft profit despite slowing PC growth

* Microsoft still controls 90 pct of PC systems

SEATTLE, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Windows 7 has sold more than 240 million copies in its first year, the company said on Thursday, making it the fastest-selling operating system, and helping the software giant to record profits despite a recent dip in computer sales growth.

The new software, which costs from $80 for a simple upgrade to $320 for the top-of-the-range edition, was launched a year ago this week to supersede the unpopular Vista.

Although Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) OS X and Linux-based operating systems have won some market share in the past few years, Microsoft still controls 90 percent of the world's 1.4 billion or so personal computers, and is expecting more customers to upgrade or switch to Windows 7.

About 89 percent of companies -- Microsoft's most lucrative customers -- are planning to use Windows 7, said Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Microsoft's Windows unit. Companies tend to lag behind consumers in adopting new operating systems as they have to go through more testing to make sure they mesh with existing software.

Microsoft reported record sales of $62.5 billion last fiscal year, up 7 percent from the year before, largely powered by Windows. The Windows unit is still Microsoft's core, providing more than one-fourth of overall sales and just over half of its profit.

Microsoft is expected to report higher fiscal first-quarter earnings next week, but Windows sales -- which closely track PC sales -- may disappoint investors slightly.

PC sales rose only 11 percent in the July-to-September period, according to research firm IDC, compared to 22 percent in the three months before that, as back-to-school shoppers appeared to hold off on big purchases. (Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Richard Chang)

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