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Office 2010 sales so far 'disappointing'

The hangover from the economic downturn and a highly competitive market mean Office 2010 sales have thus far failed to ignite, an NPD analyst has revealed.

Office 2010

The response to Microsoft's Office 2010 has thus far been "a bit disappointing", according to senior NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker.

The productivity suite launched worldwide to consumers on 15 June, but Baker says based on its first two weeks on the market demand has thus far failed to match up to its predecessor Office 2007.

As mitigating factors, the NPD Group vice president of industry analysis did point to the fact that Office 2010 launched into a saturated market and a market only started to emerge from what has been a "seasonally slow period for PC purchases".

However, Baker argued that there were other factors suggesting the suite faced an "uphill struggle" to match 2007's unit sales and revenue performance over time.

"Office 2007 was a radical new design that certainly helped deliver a lot of curious buyers and it was launched nearly parallel with Vista, adding a good deal of promotional activity in the software aisle, both of which likely helped drive initial sales of Office 2007," Baker wrote in a blog post.

"While Office 2010 has many compelling new features, it is always an uphill battle to sell a high installed base product based on new features alone."

However, Baker did suggest that NPD's Weekly Tracking Service showed that Microsoft was "in line, and in fact slightly ahead of" Office 2007's own expected sales trends for the calendar year.

He also added that there was little to suggest Office 2010's sales performance was suffering any cannibalisation from its own free Office Web Apps suite or any other web-based productivity package, suggesting that on the consumer front anyway, cloud adoption was still in its early stages.

"Over time it is certainly likely that we will see some slowdown in retail sales as consumers alter their productivity software habits, but that time is not now. Mainstream consumers have not embraced the concept of the cloud, nor are they likely in the short to mid-term, making most of the questions around free software moot," he wrote.

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