Vista BlingMicrosoft was finally able to take a step back and look at how many licenses of Vista are actually in use right now. According to their numbers, there were more than 20 million licenses sold from January 30 to February 28. That is nothing short of impressive!

That number does include upgraded versions of Vista from people who bought new computers before Vista was actually released, but CNet says that when they questioned Microsoft on how many of the 20 million licenses were from upgrades the response was:

It’s boosting the overall number, but it’s certainly not the core component of the 20 million.

To put the number in perspective Microsoft said that 17 million Windows XP licenses were sold after two-months, which means Vista more than doubled its Windows predecesor! The thing that made this number the most astonishing was that there are a reported 20 million Mac users (source) in total, and in the first year of Apple’s next OS release they are expected to sell 10 million licenses. By the end of this year Vista is expected to hit more than 100 million licenses.

Mac’s numbers are by no means shabby, but it just goes to show how widespread Windows really is. CNet also noted that Vista Ultimate sales are doing better than expected, although Microsoft has not released specific information regarding how many licenses of each version of Vista were sold:

Mannion said that Microsoft is even seeing better-than-expected sales of the pricey Ultimate edition. “We have relatively modest expectations for Ultimate, but it’s exceeding that on both new PCs and the packaged product.”

He likens it to car buyers who buy more horsepower than they need. “How many people buy the V8 instead of the V6?” Walker said. Or how many go with the optional towing package, “even though they have nothing to tow?”

I am a little surprised that people are picking the Ultimate Edition, but when purchasing a new PC, the upgrade to Ultimate from Home Premium is typically just $100. That is much more reasonable than spending the $400 on a retail copy of Ultimate, and the retail version can be switched to a new PC if that need should arise.

Having used the final version of Vista for nearly two months I would have to say that I am impressed with its capabilities. In the next few months I will be purchasing a new laptop that supports the Aero graphics, and I can’t wait because there are a lot of cool applications emerging that utilize Vista’s advanced graphical capabilities!

Microsoft Press Release