The upcoming expiration of Microsoft Corp.’s support for its Windows XP operating system appears to be giving personal computer sales a boost according to analyst firm International Data Corp.

Nothing much is happening around the consumer upgrade cycle but IDC is seeing more businesses and to some extent public sector organizations initiating PC upgrade projects, said Jay Chou, senior research analyst at IDC.

About 81.6 million PCs shipped in the third quarter of this year, falling by 7.6 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2012, IDC said. The analyst firm earlier projected a larger decline of 9.5 per cent for the period.

With less than seven months to go before the April 8, 2014 deadline, Chou noted that there is a big upgrade cycle in Japan where there is a huge XP install base. PC makers in North America have also stocked up on computers running Windows 8.1, with products expected to ship later this month.

The growing adoption of smart phones and tablets as computing devices along with tight economic conditions around the globe is contributing the PC sales slump. Despite slight improvements in the economic condition, PC sales have yet to recover fully.

For example Chinese computer maker Lenovo’s shipments totaled 14.1 million units during the third quarter. This showed a growth of 2.2 per cent for the company which has 17.3 per cent of the market share. Hewlett-Packard’s PC shipment came to 13.99 million units showing a growth of 0.4 per cent, for a 17.1 per cent market share. Dell’s shipments came to 9.52 million units, growing by 0.3 per cent for a market share of 11.7 per cent.

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