Microsoft Corporation stock jumped 5% Friday when the company revealed that initial sales of its Windows 2000 operating system were far better than expected. Though some analysts had wondered whether its low-key product launch would be enough to get Windows 2000 off to a flying start, Microsoft says that it has already sold over 500,000 copies of the operating system at retail since its introduction just two weeks before. And retail sales are traditionally the low-end of the sales spectrum, especially for a business-oriented product such as Windows 2000.
Windows 2000 was delayed continuously during its three-year development. And according to company insiders, former project lead Moshie Dunie lost his position when he failed to deliver the product by the end of 1998. But over the course of 1999, Windows 2000 was put on a relatively fast track, with a feature freeze and measured completion schedule. After missing its initial October release date, Windows 2000 was finally released to manufacturing in December 1999.
Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and other Microsoft officials have often described Windows 2000 as a "bet the company" release. And since Windows 2000 is the foundation for all of the company's desktop and server operating systems going forward, this might not be far from the mark. The recent revelations of sales success in the retail arena are quite likely the first of many such announcements to come