Windows World: Windows 2000 Licensing Slowing Down

The demand for Windows 2000 seems to be settling down after an initial spike that may have been related to an early adopter rush to obtain Microsoft Corp.’s flagship business operating system.

During a keynote at Windows World/Comdex in Chicago today, Tod Nielson, vice president of the Microsoft ( platform group, said Microsoft licensed more than 1.5 million copies of Windows 2000 in the two months since the launch. The number is a combination of licenses for Windows 2000 Professional, Server, and Advanced Server. It includes estimates from channel resellers, retail outlets, and PC manufacturers, but it excludes licenses acquired through enterprise agreements with large corporations and organizations.

Nielson and Microsoft’s marketing machine emphasized momentum when highlighting the number.

But Microsoft made a similar announcement last month that 1 million copies of Windows 2000 had gone out in the first month since the Feb. 17 launch. If both numbers are correct, licensing fell by half from the first month to the second.

Both numbers are far off the standards Microsoft had set last year with Windows NT shipments. Market research firm IDC ( estimates that Microsoft shipped nearly 2 million copies of Windows NT per month in 1999.

Microsoft has thus far been unwilling to discuss how the Windows 2000 shipments compare with new licenses of Windows NT 4.0. Microsoft has also refused to discuss the ratio of Professional shipments to Server or Advanced Server shipments. Industry observers suspect Professional accounts for more than 90 percent of the licenses.

Meanwhile, 500,000 units per month could represent a sustainable level on which Microsoft could base future growth in Windows 2000 shipments. If most of Microsoft’s 650,000 or more beta testers immediately moved to licensed copies of the new OS (a move encouraged by Microsoft through the use of a 120-day timebomb in the gold code), that would account for about half of the 1 million licenses in the first month.

At Windows World, Nielson also disclosed that 64,000 Web sites are using Windows 2000 as their hosting solution, more than three times the 20,000 Web sites being hosted on Windows 2000 at the time of the Feb. 17 launch. According to Microsoft, the 64,000 hosted sites surpasses the number of sites hosted on IBM AIX, HP-UX, MacOS, or NetWare. --Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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