PC Upgrades

InfoWorld writes about the looming massive upgrade of PCs that is taking place – more than 200 million computers in the coming 2 years:

Worldwide, PC makers will ship 186.4 million units this year, up 13.6 percent from last year, according to the latest projections from Gartner Inc. Out of those shipments more than half — nearly 100 million — will be replacements, and next year the replacement shipments will hit 120 million, Gartner said. Replacement shipments this year and next year will surpass the record replacement numbers seen in 1998 and 1999.

The optimistic figures are based on shipments so far this year, according to the research firm. George Shiffler, principal analyst for Gartner’s client platforms research, said a major factor in driving replacements isn’t the need for better performance or a desire for new features, but the expiration of Microsoft technical support for older operating systems. “More than 30 percent of installed PCs are now at least three years old,” Shiffler said. “Many, if not most of these PCs, are using older Windows operating systems that are no longer supported or are about to lose full technical support.”

Gartner sees the PC business continuing to look much as it has done, but on a longer upgrade cycle — perhaps four years rather than three — and minus the boost given by new market penetration. As a result companies are having to make radical shifts in their business models, putting the emphasis on an efficient supply chain and on maintaining the installed base, Shiffler said: “Companies are still adjusting to what’s going on.”

This could be a good opportunity for thin clients and server-centric computing. In developed markets, manageability is going to be a key factor in the coming years.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.