It seems Windows 7 pre-orders are making hot cakes seem cold by comparison...
The Microsoft pre-order site briefly fell over with demand today, eBuyer sold out of stock (then restocked) and Amazon has confirmed sales have already outstripped Windows Vista's entire 17 week pre-order total inside the first eight hours.
"Both Windows 7 upgrade packages shot to the top of the Amazon.com software bestsellers chart over in the US as soon as they were made available for pre-order at the end of June," said Chris Poad, software director at Amazon UK. "With the significant discount currently on offer, a similar level of high demand was expected in the UK for what is undoubtedly the biggest software release for many years."
The excitement is understandable with Windows 7 Beta and Release Candidates giving Microsoft some of the most positive reviews it has enjoyed in years. The software giant is also using the pre-order period (up until 9 August currently) to sell Home and Professional editions at just £49.99 and £99.99 respectively.
On the downside targets may be hit with new PCs sales since market researchers iSuppli is reporting computers are seeing their first sales drop since 2001. A sharp 18.1 per cent drop off in desktop sales is largely to blame it claims which is not being fully countered by an 11.7 per cent increase in laptop shipments.
Microsoft may also be something of a victim of its own success in all this too since Vista's hefty requirements saw users upgrade their machines in order to make the move. By contrast Windows 7 actually runs faster than Vista (and some argue is more responsive than XP) so - when combined with the global economy being flushed down the toilet - the same motivation isn't there.
Can't win them all...
Update: It's a similar story from DSGi, owner of PC World, Currys and Dixons.co.uk. Incredibly, demand in the first 12 hours of the pre-order launch saw sales of Windows 7 exceed 25 per cent of DSGi's total annual sales of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Impressive.
"We are seeing an unprecedented level of demand for this new operating system, "said DSGi head of software trading Alan Dardis. "We are confident we will be able to continue to meet demand for this product for the duration of the pre-order service however, with other retailers already running out of stock, we expect demand to only increase so we would recommend customers order early to ensure they are not disappointed."