Seven Copies of Windows 7 Per Second: Fast! But How Fast?

By  |  Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Microsoft PR honcho Frank Shaw has a fun post up on the official Microsoft blog. It starts with Microsoft’s calculation that seven copies of Windows 7 have been sold every second since the OS was released, then quotes other bits of math relating to the company and its competitors. His point: Microsoft sells stuff and serves customers on a truly massive scale that few companies can match.

There’s something inescapably appealing about calculating how many copies of a popular product are sold per second, even though it suggests some sort of perfectly steady state of commerce that doesn’t exist. (For me, at least, it brings to mind a supermarket checkout stand with Superman–or possibly the Flash–scanning items at superheroic velocity and ringing them up on an old-timey cash register that actually goes “kaching!”) And the seven-copies-of-Windows-7-every-second factoid got me wondering how rapidly other popular products of the present and past have sold. So I did the math.

The figures below are profoundly inexact: They’re based on sales estimates which may be way off in some cases, and periods which are often vaguely defined. I rounded off the numbers,wasn’t obsessive enough to take leap years into account, and calculated some overall averages for lengthy durations. You may analyze the same available data and come to different conclusions, or decide that it’s pointless to make any calculations whatsoever. But I still think these guestimates provide an interesting frame of reference.

Coca-Cola Company-owned beverage sales, currently: 18,519 servings every second (source)

Firefox 3 downloads (free, of course) on June 18th 2008 (“Spread Firefox Day”): 93 per second (source)

iPhone app downloads (paid and free), first nine months after iPhone OS 2.0 release: 42 apps per second (source)

McDonalds hamburger sales, founding of McDonalds Corporation through 1973: 21 burgers every second (source)

New York Times sales, as of March 2010: Eleven copies every second (source)

Windows Vista sales, first month: Eight copies every second (source)

Windows 7 sales to date: Seven copies every second (source)

Windows Vista sales, through June 30 2008: Four copies every second (source)

iPhone 3GS sales, first three days: Four phones every second (source)

Windows XP sales, first 74 days: Three copies every second (source)

Windows 95 sales at retail, first four days of availability: Three copies every second (source)

iPod sales, 2001-2010: One player every second (source)

Harry Potter book sales, 1997-2008: One copy every second (source)

Cabbage Patch Kids sales, 1984: One doll every 1.5 seconds (source)

iPad sales, first 80 days: One unit every two seconds (source)

Windows 3.1 sales, first two months after 1992 introduction: One copy every two seconds (source)

Xbox 360 sales, 2005-2010: One console every three seconds (source)

Original Xbox sales, 2001-2006: One console every six seconds (source)

Sony Walkman sales, 1979-1989: One player every six seconds (source)

Commodore 64 sales, 1982-1994: One computer every twelve seconds (source)

Model T sales, 1908-1927: One car every 37 seconds (source)

Macintosh sales, first hundred days after 1984 introduction: One computer every two minutes (source)

Sony Walkman sales, first two months after 1979 introduction: One player every three minutes (source)

Microsoft Bob sales, 1995-1996: One copy every seven minutes (source)

Delorean sales, 1982-1983: One car every two hours (source)

Apple I sales, 1976-1977: One computer every two days (source)

UNIVAC I sales, 1952-1954: One computer every 22 days (source)

Technologizer, of course, is a free service. But for the record, during our busiest month to date (March 2010) we served a visitor to the site every six seconds. I feel tuckered out just thinking about it…


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Larry Velázquez Says:

    Kind of interesting that Windows Vista and Windows 7 seem to have sold at roughly the same rate. What does that mean for the claims that people are flocking to Windows 7 because it’s so much better? Maybe they’re just getting the newest version of Windows.

  2. Larry Velázquez Says:

    I guess comparing the first 8 months of Windows 7 to the first month of Windows Vista isn’t really fair.

  3. Harry McCracken Says:

    Yeah, I think the takeaway is that operating systems tend to sell well at first. The fact that Win 7 has been out for months now and is still doing well is more impressive than Vista’s initial burst.


  4. Leslie Says:

    Oooh. these are amazing stuff. I wonder if this information is worldwide? Anyway, I'm slightly disturbed by this "Coca-Cola Company-owned beverage sales, currently: 18,519 servings every second" Hopefully, it's not just coke. Because coke is not a very healthy drink.
    Oh and btw, 1 visitor every 6 secs is not that bad. You get 10 visitors per minute, which translates to 60 visitors per hour, or 1,440 visitors a day!

  5. JaredNewman Says:

    Not to nitpick, but 10 visitors per minute = 600 visitors per hour = 14,400 visitors per day. Even better!

  6. Jocca Says:

    Does this number include OEM copies that are installed on new hardware? Because if it does, MS does not make the kind of money that 7 copies sold directly to users who upgrade over their older window copies.

  7. Harry McCracken Says:

    I think all the Windows figures include OEM copies unless otherwise specified.


  8. Arnum Says:

    Whoa, over 18K coke beverages a second, that is mind blowing. And you are right Harry, it doesn't matter how rough the figures are, it is just cool pondering the enormity of it all.

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