(Adds details throughout, share price)
SAN FRANCISCO, May 15 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) has sold nearly 40 million Windows Vista licenses in the first 100 days that the latest version of the operating system has been available, Chairman Bill Gates said on Tuesday.
Gates said an accelerating consumer shift to digital lifestyles had helped make the operating system the fastest-selling in history, and that premium editions have accounted for 78 percent of Vista sales.
Windows operating systems run on more than 95 percent of the world’s computers and represent the Redmond, Washington-based company’s biggest profit driver.
Vista, which Microsoft introduced on Jan. 30, also marks the first major operating system upgrade in more than five years from the world’s biggest software maker.
During a speech in Los Angeles, Gates said the company named its next-generation Windows Server software -- formerly known as “Longhorn” -- Windows Server 2008.
Windows Server is the server operating system equivalent to the Vista PC operating system, with an emphasis on many of the same features, such as better security.
Microsoft, which controlled an estimated two-thirds of the global server software maker in 2006, has said the product is on track for a debut in the second half of 2007.
The company also said three new hardware manufacturers -- Gateway Inc. GTW.N, Lacie and Medion - plan to build products for Windows Home Server. That software is aimed at helping families with multiple PCs easily centralize, share and protect digital content, such as pictures, music, documents and videos.
Microsoft shares were up 15 cents to $31.02 in early afternoon Nasdaq trade.
((Reporting by Michael Kahn; editing by Lisa Von Ahn; Reuters Messaging: rm://firstname.lastname@example.org; e-mail: email@example.com; +1 415-677-2511)) Keywords: MICROSOFT VISTA/
C Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution ofReuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expresslyprohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuterssphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group ofcompanies around the world.nN15423759