Thu, Nov 09, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Notebook shipments to pick up pace next year

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The global PC market is set to pick up pace next year, thanks to an increased in notebook shipments driven by Microsoft Corp's upcoming operating system (OS), a local research firm said yesterday.

"The market was lackluster this year, but shipments of laptop computers will pick up next year after the introduction of Windows Vista," Pan Chien-kuang (潘建光), senior analyst at Market Intelligence Center (MIC, 市場情報中心), told a seminar.

The total PC market next year will post growth of 11.7 percent to 233.7 million units. Of this, laptop computers will grow 23 percent to 88.7 million units, according to MIC' s projections.

The momentum of the PC market has slowed this year as a result of the delay of Vista to next January, as well as a slew of new processor technologies that keep users waiting for the latest versions, the research firm said.

The global PC market this year is expected to grow 10.4 percent over last year, with notebook shipments climbing 19.5 percent.

Last year, PC shipments rose 14.5 percent, with notebooks expanding 28.8 percent, MIC said.

The MIC forecast is pretty much in line with Merrill Lynch & Co, which said last month that total PC shipment growth will hit 12.5 percent, or 257 million units, next year.

This year' s growth will be 9.9 percent at 228.4 million units, it said.

However, it remains to be seen if the much-hyped Vista will be able to lift PC sales to a huge extent next year, Pan said.

"A small cohort of consumers will adopt Vista quite early, but word of mouth will encourage a more sizeable uptake in the second half of next year," he said.

Microsoft is keen not to miss out on the year-end holidays, the busiest computer-selling season of the year, and announced on Oct. 26 that it is offering users who buy a PC with its current operating system, Windows XP, till March 15 to upgrade to Vista.

The terms of the Vista "Express Upgrade" offer will vary from one PC maker to another. The upgrades will be free in some cases.

“The upgrade offer will not help much. Some customers will still delay

their PC purchase to wait till the launch of Vista,” Pan said.

To entice buyers to loosen their purse strings for the Christmas holiday,

computer makers have already started to announce a slew of discounts.

Lenovo Group Ltd's (聯想) Taiwan branch last week said it will cut retail

prices of its Napa-based laptops by 4 percent.

The new Lenovo laptops, shipped with Windows XP, are all “Windows Vista

capable,” meaning their specifications will be able to support Vista, which

requires more hard disk and memory over XP.

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