Windows 98 tops one million mark, says Microsoft

Microsoft has announced that more than 1 million upgrade licenses of its Windows 98 have been purchased in North America since the operating system's release on June 25 - but one industry analyst is already calling the operating system's apparent success 'a case of creative accounting.'

Microsoft has announced that more than 1 million upgrade licenses of its Windows 98 have been purchased in North America since the operating system's release on June 25, but analysts have differing opinions on what this means.

"One million unit shipments is a critical measure point, because it means success for a given product, that it has mainstreamed," says Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group.

"These results are on track, as far as I'm concerned," Enderle says, adding that he felt it exceeded Microsoft's anticipations for Windows 98 at this point in time.

Senior analyst at Forrester Research, Jon Oltsik, isn't buying it, however.

All of the feedback that Forrester Research is receiving indicates that no one is really interested in Windows 98, Oltsik said. "I really wonder what they are counting here -- sales to consumers or sales to retail outlets, available to consumers?" he said.

If Microsoft is only counting sales to consumers, the 1 million unit shipment estimate seems high, Oltsik said, explaining that Forrester Research is not seeing a great demand for Windows 98.

"I don't buy it," Oltsik said, adding that he thought this was "a case of creative accounting."

The estimate of 1 million upgrade license shipments of Windows 98 consists of consumer purchases bought at retail outlets, according to Cara Walker, of Microsoft's public relations firm, Waggener-Edstrom.

Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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