Searches For Microsoft Vista Surge

    January 30, 2007

Despite Microsoft’s best efforts, Vista isn’t yet breaking any sales records. According to some reports, the launch of the new operating system didn’t even draw a midnight crowd. People are curious about Windows Vista, though – data from Hitwise reveals that searches for the term are up 53%. I had a cynical reaction when I saw LeeAnn Prescott’s headline: "What kind of ‘start date’ does that 53% reflect?" My cynicism abated once I’d digested the second sentence of her piece. "[L]ast week the share of US Internet searches for ‘windows vista’ increased by 53% from the previous week (week ending 1/27/07 vs. week ending 1/20/07)," Prescott reported. "The volume of searches for the much-anticipated new operating system surpassed interest in Microsoft’s most popular hardware products, ‘xbox 360’ and ‘zune.’" From Microsoft’s point of view, those are certainly some encouraging tidbits. The company should also be pleased that the lion’s share – 58.63% – of the people searching for information about Vista are going to the official Microsoft website (instead of, say, some lukewarm reviews like these). But 6.84% of searchers are going to Wikipedia, according to Prescott, and Microsoft may not be thrilled about that. The "free-content encyclopedia project" offers a huge entry on Vista, and the article seems to be both informative and objective (it’s also locked against further editing). The entry doesn’t end on much of a high note, however – it concludes with 1,000 words of "criticism" instead. Still, Hitwise’s search data seems to indicate a strong public interest in Vista. It’ll be interesting to see how that interest translates into sales; if one article from Niall Kennedy is any indication, Microsoft may need to recruit an interpreter.

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