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Software sales up in first half

Retail computer software sales were up in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, thanks in part to a strong market for business and game titles.

Retail computer software sales were up in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, thanks in part to a strong market for business and game titles, according to a report released Wednesday.

Traditionally, the first half of the year is a slow period for retail software sales, but this year sales were up 5 percent, to about $3 billion, compared with the same period last year, according to research firm NPDTechworld. Sales of business and gaming-related software were particularly strong.

Revenue from operating systems such as Microsoft's Windows XP and Apple Computer's OS X, as well virus detection software, helped the business category improve 9 percent to just more than $1.5 billion in revenue.

"New operating systems help drive software sales as consumers look to upgrade their existing software to utilize the features of the new OS," Steve Koenig, senior software analyst, NPDTechworld, said in a statement. "The continuing proliferation of the Internet among U.S. households, broadband in particular, has elevated virus detection software from a valuable feature to a mandatory utility."

Revenue from the sale of operating systems was up 40 percent, while virus detection software sales were up 70 percent.

Expansion packs for existing PC games pushed sales of gaming software past the $600 million mark, up $20 million compared with the first half of 2001, for the first time, according to NPDTechworld.