Vista to Add $120 Billion to Global Economy

Sometimes one gets the feeling that Microsoft doesn’t see itself so much as a software company but as a world economic power. As an example, in his keynote at this week’s WinHEC conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates cited a Microsoft-commissioned study from research firm IDC which forecasts Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008—a.k.a. "Longhorn"—will sell more than $120 billion in products and services around the world…and that’s just for the year 2008.

"The impact of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will reach far beyond Microsoft," wrote John Gantz, IDC’s chief research officer and senior vice president. "Overall, the advent of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 will help local economies grow, improve the labor force, and support the formation of new companies. In addition, the indirect benefits of using newer software will help boost productivity, increase competitiveness, and support local innovation."

The study forecasts that for every dollar Microsoft earns from Windows Server 2008 and the Vista operating system, the company is also spawning an ecosystem which will reap approximately $18 in products and services centered on Microsoft’s operating system platforms. The study also forecasts an overall 20 percent increase in Windows-related employment in 2008—we’re sure all those Windows-related jobs stem from the operating system getting easier to use and administer, right?

The IDC study also forecasts—not surprisingly, for a study delivered to a hardware conference like WinHEC—that during 2008 Vista- and Windows Server 2008-related money will generally flow into the hands of hardware makers rather than software developers and service companies. The findings follow the historical trend that users and organizations tend to upgrade operating systems when they replace aging hardware.

According to Microsoft, the company sold nearly 40 million copies of Windows Vista during its first 100 days of availability.

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