Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, opening the organisation's Windows Hardware and Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Los Angeles, says that 40-million Vista licences have been sold to date – meaning it's shipping twice as fast as its predecessor, Windows XP.

"I'm really thrilled at how this has come together," Gates says, adding that 78% of these sales are made up by Windows Vista Ultimate.
But while the numbers might look good on paper, critics are quick to point out that the lack of hardware driver support for the new operating system is still hampering sales among corporates. The latest figures, they say, can probably be put down to OEMs and channel partners buying licences for the products they ship, rather than business customers switching from Windows XP.
Even harsher critics point out that Vista has been on sale to business partners since October last year and that there is the small question of masses of upgrade vouchers doled out by Microsoft in the lead-up to its launch. They wonder just how much these factors have affected Vista's latest numbers and question whether or not more Vista licences should have been sold.
South African numbers for Vista are still unavailable, but some OEMs say that "up to 80%" of the machines they sell are still pre-loaded with XP. This could all change, however, when Microsoft discontinues XP in the December/January 2008 timeframe. There are already grumblings about a so-called shortage of XP licences for local OEMs and distributors.