Microsoft XP: The first days

Microsoft XP: The first days

A fortnight on from the razzle-dazzle of the XP launch, resellers are getting down to the business of selling Microsoft's newest operating system.

The response to Windows XP's success in the market has been mixed. While retail giant Harvey Norman saw its sales figures rise above expectations across its stores, corporate retailers will have to wait a little longer before they can ascertain whether XP lives up to expectations.

"I don't think we have sold a single copy," declared Computerland's sales manager, Jim Lang. "No-one is making the move to XP. Our customer set is not retail and their focus is still on Windows 2000," he said.

However, things were far more positive on the retail side.

"Sales are above the expectations for both Harvey Norman and Microsoft," said the retailer's general manager of computers and communications, John Slack-Smith. "The level of interest has been high, and not just on the sales side. We are talking to customers about the benefits of digital music and photography, and mobile advantages."

Slack-Smith admitted the corporate market is a nut that will take a lot longer to crack.

"We are doing little to no sales in that sector," he said. "But the corporate market has never been the early adopter. Customers always wait for the first update of the release."

IDC senior analyst Logan Ringland said he is receiving feedback that XP has not as yet provided a PC sales stimulus.

He believes the lack of current activity is the result of local pressures and local economic uncertainty, as much as it is to do with any global problems.

"No doubt Windows XP is a better operating system, but there are no new applications coming on the market to drive sales." Ringland said.

General manager of bponline at Byte Power Martin Bicknell agreed. "There seems to be a lot of hype, but we haven't had a lot of enquiries on the corporate side," he said. "People are more worried about world politics at the moment."

"[Windows] XP will only start to go off when the sales of PCs start to go off," Ringland said. "The amount of money Microsoft has spent on marketing is phenomenal, and it has got people talking about PCs again. But I still don't think it is enough on its own to make people start buying PCs again."

But the release has piqued consumers' interest, with Leading Edge retailers reporting a strong response from customers, even if sales had only been moderate.

"We've certainly had a good response and most customers seem to like XP," said Tony Roberts from Leading Edge Computers, Sunshine Coast.

Colin MacKinnon from Leading Edge in Cairns said most sales had come from the home market, but XP has brought in some unexpected business.

"Most of the buzz here is for jobs coming in where people have upgraded elsewhere and now the computer doesn't work, or the drivers are missing," he said.

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