Sales of Windows Vista and 'Halo 3' have given a fillip to Microsoft's quarterly figures. The corporation raked in a staggering $170 million of sales in the first 24 hours Halo 3 was on sale.

The Halo effect, said Microsoft, helped it to reach its fastest growing quarter since 1999, with Halo 3 "achieving the biggest entertainment launch day in history".

You're buying Windows Vista

"Customer demand for Windows Vista this quarter continued to build with double-digit growth in multi-year agreements by businesses and with the vast majority of consumers purchasing premium editions," gushed Kevin Johnson, president of the Platform and Services Division at Microsoft.

Demand for Vista has been helped by these rolling business contracts that guarantee the adoption of the OS. Consumer take-up, however, remains somewhat slow, demonstrated by PC World blaming "poor Vista-related sales" for its recent results.

Microsoft's statement added there was "robust demand" for Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft Office system and its server offerings. Apple will be hoping the same can be said of OS X 10.5, which goes on sale later today.

Finally, here are the key numbers: revenue of $13.76 billion for the quarter, a growth of 27 per cent on the same period last year. Steve Ballmer will probably be happy with that.