Joe Wilcox at eWeek is one of those who didn't take the MS claims at face value. He wrote "What kind of Kool-Aid are they drinking up there in Redmond? Who spiked the Windows Vista-logo soda cans?"
Wilcox points out that Microsoft has conflated four months of sales into a 30 day period by including all the PCs shipped the three months prior to Vista's launch which included a "free" upgrade to Vista. He also notes that "Microsoft counts licenses sold to OEMs in the 20 million number, but the number of actual Vista PCs sold is likely much lower."
That conflation makes for a huge difference between Microsoft's claimed sales and reality, as Wilcox quotes an analyst who estimated "only 3 million PCs have been sold in the United States" since the start of the year.
Other writers quote analysts like Michael Silver, vice president of research at Gartner, who say that the personal computer market has nearly doubled since XP launched, and that Vista sales "probably should be more."
Not to mention that the built-up demand for a new release of Windows has been simmering for five years prior to Vista's release, as opposed to only two years for XP.
Playfuls.com summed up their take on the MS announcement by saying "Microsoft’s press release seems to be more of a reminder that Windows Vista exists... and that Xbox 360 is not the company's only product."
My take? A Microsoft press release is what it is, and only a fool would take one at face value. The real news is not that Microsoft is trying to alter an unpleasant reality, but that fewer and fewer journalists -- and readers -- are drinking the Kool-Aid.