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Windows 7 no engine for PC growth in Q4 says Gartner

Paul Kunert

Such is the inconsistency in the global PC market that analysts at Gartner are now predicting growth in sales during Q4 but reckon Windows 7 will only have a "very modest" influence.

The latest forecast by Gartner is more optimistic than the previous ones in March when it estimated unit shipments would fall 9.2% this year and in May, when it predicted that sales could decline 6.6%.

Modest growth expected in the Christmas quarter may help to halt the sales decline for the year to 6% and will lead to a relative rebound in 2010 when the market is expected to climb 10.3% year-on-year.

George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, said the consumer sector will be "helping to power the market's recovery" in 2010 and 2011 but Windows 7 will not be the driver.

"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," he said.

Unless Microsoft launches an effective, major marketing campaign users will adopt the new OS as they would when buying a new PC, he added.

"As for professional users, we still expect them to put off adopting the new OS for at least a year until they have fully tested their applications against it," said Shiffler.

Laurence Painell, Windows OEM and WGA product manager at Microsoft UK, agreed the current economic climate "is having a significant impact on the PC market."

But he hoped the features in the next generation OS including Touch, the Sensors platform as well as Windows 7 on netbooks "will capture people's imaginations and help to stimulate the PC market."

The Global Technology Distribution Council - comprising some of the largest wholesalers on the planet - this month said the market on this side of the Atlantic were not yet over the worst of the recession.

Ingram Micro president Greg Spierkel warned recently that business in Europe was "getting worse with every passing month".

"Everyone is trying to be realistic but unemployment figures keep going up and spending is being pulled back-flat is clearly the new up," he said.

Milko van Duijl, president at Lenovo, told MicroScope that demand in the US was stabilising, "but for Europe its tough now" and when asked if expected an upturn this year he replied, "personally I do not."

Microsoft was unavailable to comment.

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