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IDC counters Gartner with upbeat forecast for Windows 7

Simon Quicke

Even before the product is launched, the disagreements over the likely impact of Windows 7 are dividing analyst houses, making it difficult for resellers to predict how the major launch from Microsoft will effect sales in the crucial fourth quarter.

Last month Gartner issued a downbeat forecast predicting that Windows 7, which is being launched in October, would only have a "very modest" influence on sales in Q4 and would not play the role of being a major driver in a possible rallying in the PC market.

"Although the buzz surrounding Windows 7 has generally been quite positive, we don't expect the market to significantly deviate from its normal seasonal trends in reaction to its release," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

But in research released to coincide with Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference being held this week in New Orleans, numbers from IDC paint a far rosier picture for the prospects for Windows 7.

According to the analyst house, not only will the OS benefit the vendor, but for every euro of Microsoft revenue made with Windows 7 a further 19.82 euros will be generated for resellers through additional services and products. That number is up considerably on previous measures from IDC.

Globally the expectations are for shipments of 177 million units of Windows 7 by the end of next year, with 1% of global IT spending going towards the OS. Between the launch in October and the end of next year the European channels are expected to sell more than $70bn in products and services connected with Windows 7, according to IDC.

"The advent of Windows 7 will bring related and cascading economic benefits, from new employment to increased revenues and investments made in local country economies. In this case, less than 1% of global IT spending will drive nearly 20% of global IT employment and account for a significant portion of the new jobs created in the IT industry in late 2009 and 2010," said IDC in its research white paper.

"In the midst of an economic crisis, with most governments seeking economic stimulus to grow their economies, the launch of a major new operating system should be considered good news - a stimulus package in its own right," it added.

To get hold of that money IDC highlighted the need for resellers across the world to invest in getting ready to sell and support the software. "To obtain these revenues, ecosystem firms are expected to invest nearly $115bn to develop, market, and support their products and services that work with or run on Windows 7."

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