Windows 98 sales down 60-70 per cent on Windows 95

First night "midnight madness" sales of Microsoft Windows 98 at Harvey Norman's Auburn, NSW superstore were only 30-40 per cent of those for the launch for its predecessor, Windows 95.

However, with 20 stores opening at midnight on Wednesday for the official June 25 launch, a Harvey Norman spokesperson said they were pleased with the response to its promotion and in excess of 500 people visited the Auburn store.

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey didn't expect the scene to be as frantic as for Windows 95, but was pleased to observe that buyers were adding other software and products to their Windows 98 upgrade.

"Windows 98 is not as revolutionary a product as Windows 95 but an evolutionary product," said Harvey. "It will put some life back into a computer market that has been a little slow lately."

Dick Smith Electronics was also "pleasantly surprised" with the response at its Bankstown superstore which also opened at midnight with a view to closing at dawn. They stayed open until normal opening time due to continuous patronage but could not compare figures with Windows 95 because they didn't open early for that launch.

According to Rachelle Connor, public relations manager for the national retail chain: "The store staff were really pleased with the level of interest that was generated. It was a freezing night and they even sold a couple of PCs at three in the morning," she said.