Win 98 selling well in Japan

The upgrade sells more than 250,000 copies there in the first two days after its debut, far surpassing initial Windows 95 sales.

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Microsoft's Windows 98 sold more than 250,000 copies in Japan in the first two days after its July 25 debut, far surpassing initial sales of its predecessor.

Windows 95 sold some 200,000 copies in the first four days after its launch, according to an International Data Corporation Japan report cited by Reuters. The strong response seems to justify the software giant's prelaunch decision to send more copies to the Asian nation.

The operating system upgrade has been selling surprisingly well wherever it's available, even though Microsoft has said Windows 98 isn't much more than an upgrade and told businesses to wait for NT 5.0, expected in the first half of next year.

Microsoft Japan is initially shipping 700,000 copies of Windows 98, about 40 percent more than previously stated, according to the Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The company would not comment on those figures but has confirmed that its shipments exceed initial projections.

"On the back of the success we've had in the countries where we have launched, the Japanese management [of Microsoft] has decided to make more product available to make sure that they don't run out on the launch date," Brian Shafer, international marketing manager for Microsoft, previously told CNET News.com.

Experts had not expected Windows 98 to sell that well for a variety of reasons, but they have been confounded since the June 25 launch. The software sold 250,000 copies in the United States on its first day and went on to exceed Windows 95 sales for the first two weeks.

Not even upgrade problems for users with older PC systems slowed momentum. Its debut was credited with helping boost June PC purchases by a whopping 37 percent.

IDC Japan expects strong sales of Windows 98 will also boost Japan's sluggish PC market, although not so dramatically.