Office 2007 starts faster in sales than last release

First-week retail sales of Office 2007 more than doubled the purchases of Office 2003 in the week after its launch in October 2003, according to market research firm NPD Group Inc.

Unit shipments of Office 2007 during the week that started Jan. 28 were up 109 percent over the first-week shipments of Office 2003, based on data that NPD collected from retailers including, Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Kmart, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples and Target. Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD said the dollar value of Office 2007 sales was 106 percent higher than that of Office 2003, despite a small drop in the desktop software suite's average retail selling price to US$206.93.

"I was told by several retailers that sales of Microsoft Office greatly exceeded their projections," said Chris Swenson, a software analyst at NPD. He declined to disclose the actual sales figures that have been reported to NPD.

Swenson said sales of Office 2007 in the business channel during December, following the software's Nov. 30 launch for enterprise users, were also up compared with the first-month sales of Office 2003.

Unit shipments of Office 2007 were 61 percent higher among large value added resellers, such as CDW Corp., CompuCom Systems Inc. and Softchoice Corp., Swenson said. He added that the dollar value of sales by the VARs was 98 percent higher, partly because the average selling price for business purchases has jumped from $245.61 on Office 2003 to $301.33 on Office 2007 -- a 22.6 percent increase.

Swenson attributed the higher business pricing to Microsoft's "versioning strategy" for Office, which he said is helping the vendor upsell companies to more feature-rich versions of the software.