Retailers are ready for a spike in general IT sales following the release of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system, according to Dick Smith Electronics general manager, Alvin Ng.
After launching to business in November, the US software giant highlighted consumer features at a media launch in Sydney yesterday. Attending on the day, Ng claimed a quarter of the 3000 Australian retail sales staff trained on Vista were from Dick Smith, Dick Smith PowerHouse and Tandy stores.
He said key consumer features of Vista including photo editing tools and music storage would contribute significantly to sales of photo printers, digital cameras, MP3 players and other devices.
"Technology has moved so fast. PCs have gone beyond supporting work and now have the ability to enhance our whole lifestyle," he said. "Our people will be educating the mass market and showing them how it all fits together."
Supporting Ng's comments, IDC predicted in late 2006 that for every dollar Microsoft makes on Vista in 2007, partners that offer related software, hardware and services will make $18.
The same report also estimated up to 45 per cent of new PCs that ship to enterprises in 2007 will run Vista. While this could retard its retail sales to some degree, it was predicted to drive overall interest in digital peripherals for the rest of the channel.
Ng said that during a midnight opening of its Dick Smith PowerHouse in Moore Park, sales were brisk.
"We didn't sell hundreds, but we certainly did sell dozens and dozens," he said.
Across town, Harvey Norman's Alexandria store was one of 44 branches to open from 11pm, with chairman, Gerry Harvey, and newly appointed local Microsoft managing director, Tracey Fellows, selling a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate signed by Bill Gates to the first customer in line.
Also appearing alongside Vista at the retail launch was the latest version of Microsoft's productivity software, Office 2007.