Sales of packaged software may have been down in January by 13 per cent compared to December, but the results were significantly better than January 2001, according to channel research organisation Inform.
Phil Burnum, research manager for Inform, said the losses from December to January mainly came from operating systems and productivity software segments. Productivity software, which accounts for three-quarters of all software sold through retail, was down 19 per cent month-on-month but was still considerably healthier than January 2001, when unit sales were 21 per cent lower.
Burnum said Symantec has been the main beneficiary of the growth in the past year and it securely holds top spot in the productivity market segment.
Packaged operating system sales continue to slip from a November peak after the launch of Microsoft's Windows XP, but MYOB and Quicken both experienced a rise in off-the-shelf finance software sales. The two big guns are still well ahead of Microsoft's MS Money offering, which is aimed at consumers rather than small business.
The development software segment defied the overall trend, with January sales up 33 per cent from December, although this translates to less than 500 units as the market is very small, Burnum said. NTM Publishing's Web Pro and Web Personal products enabled it to tip Microsoft out of the top spot in this category.