Windows 8 not likely to restart ailing PC market
Analysts say Microsoft's new OS may prompt some sales but not enough to boost the industry
Computerworld - Microsoft's launch of Windows 8 amid great fanfare yesterday left many users wondering whether the new operating system can prove a big boost to the ailing PC market.
Analysts said today that while Windows 8 may help keep the business afloat, it probably won't be enough to return the business to anywhere near its former glory.
"Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Windows 8 will be enough to turn around PC sales," said Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT.
"At the end of the day, IT sales depend as much on customer confidence as they do on vendor innovation," King said. "Vendors can occasionally nudge a market in one direction or another, a bit like a tugboat guides a far larger ship. But no single company can drag broader markets along in its wake."
The PC industry has been struggling mightily in recent years under the weight of a sluggish worldwide economy and a growing consumer infatuation with trendy products like Apple's iPad.
Many analysts have said that while some enterprises have been holding off laptop and desktop purchase until Windows 8 comes out, others have been turning to tablets and smartphones as replacements for the traditional systems.
Robert Enderle, an analyst at the Enderle Group, said the PC business should get help from at least some some pent up demand from the companies waiting for the release of Windows 8.
"We do traditionally get a slowdown prior to a release," he said, adding that "Windows 8 is compelling. It could [help turn things around] but it will really depend on demand."
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, isn't as optimistic about a revitalization of the PC business, noting that the biggest drag on the business hasn't been the imminent shipping of Windows 8, it's been the economy and tablets.
"Windows 8 will help PC sales some, but won't be enough to make up for the lousy economy," said Moorhead.
King said Windows 8 could even hurt PC sales.
"Windows 8 is so new and so radically different than previous versions of Windows that it could spark as much resistance as curiosity," he said.
On the other hand, he noted that some research has found that Windows 8's "touch enablement tops the wish lists of most PC users. If that proves right, Microsoft and its OEM partners should reap the benefits."
The already battered PC market had been depending earlier on a growth spurt in new, so-called ultrabook computers that did not materialize. Researcher IHS iSuppli reported earlier this month that worldwide ultrabook shipments had fallen far short of expectations. The company lowered its ultrabook sales forecast from 22 million units in 2012 to 10.3 million.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP
- Microsoft plans to patch critical under-attack IE bug next week
- Microsoft reaches RTM milestone for Windows 8.1 update
- OS upgrades: Cheap is better than pricey, free is better than cheap
- No special treatment for China on XP, patches end April 8 in the PRC, too
- Microsoft ships Office 2013 SP1 the old-fashioned way
- Microsoft's 'go-low' play puts Windows revenue on the line
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
- Users mock Microsoft for asking their help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrades
- Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more for mouse, keyboard customers
Read more about Windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts