Windows 98 retail sales surpass Windows 95 in US

Since its launch in June, Microsoft has sold 1.2 million Windows 98 upgrades and over 500,000 full versions at retail stores in the United States. That's only 6% below the number of Windows 95 upgrades sold after the same amount of time but, amazingly, is twice the number of full versions of Windows 95 that were sold by that time. Windows 98 is, by far, the best selling software product released in 1998.

On the other hand, hardware manufacturer bundles are down from the same time period when Windows 95 was first sold. Microsoft has sold over 3 million copies of Windows 98 so far, compared to over 7 million for Windows 95 after a similar time period.

The success of Windows 98 has jump-started the Universal Serial Bus (USB) device market, however. Before Windows 98 launched, only 15 USB devices were available. Now there are over 50 and numerous manufacturers, including Sony, Philips, UMAX, NEC, and others are racing to market with more.

Unlike Windows 95, which ushered in a new era of 32-bit software, Windows 98 isn't responsible for wholesale software upgrades because the product is essentially a point upgrade to Windows 95. Few Windows 98-specific software products are available simply because Windows 95 and 98 are almost identical to software programs. Still, Windows 98 and Plus! 98 continue to hold the number one and two spots on software sales charts

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