PCs running Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system got a cool response from consumers in Japan during their first month on sale, according to data published today

Sales of desktop and laptop computers from brand-name makers in February were 1.2 percent higher than the same month in 2006, said BCN. The company came up with its figure after analysing point-of-sales system data from about 560 specialist PC and electronics shops that are part of 12 retail chains.

The entire market was up 6 percent thanks to better demand for white-box PCs made by computer stores and for motherboards.

The jump in the brand-market was smaller than expected by market watchers, who thought the launch of the long-awaited operating system on 30 January would give the PC market more of a kick. Better sales had been expected in part because consumers had shown a lack of interest in new PCs in the months prior to Vista's launch.

Despite the apparently lacklustre response from Japanese consumers, Microsoft and two major PC makers have in the last 24 hours given the Vista launch votes of confidence.

"We're actually pretty happy with how the launch has gone so far," said Darren Huston, president and chief executive of Microsoft's Japan unit.

The same day Walt Mayo, corporate director of Dell Japan's home and business sales division, said in an interview that the Vista launch has been "good overall”.