Microsoft Corp’s next-generation operating system and the lightweight Ultrabook laptops favored by chip-maker Intel Corp will not be enough to revive growth in the notebook computer sector, Citigroup Inc said yesterday.
Kevin Chang (張凱偉), a Taipei-based analyst for Citigroup, predicted that the annualized growth of notebooks would fall below 5 percent in the long term because tablet computers have eroded demand for notebooks, especially in the replacement market.
“We believe the notebook upgrade cycle is being prolonged due to the rise of tablet PCs,” Chang said at a forum as part of the Semicon Taiwan trade show. “The notebook replacement cycle will get much longer, maybe five years, as hybrid tablets start to replace some consumer notebooks.”
Chang forecast that tablet PC shipments would overtake notebook shipments in developed markets as early as 2014 and no later than 2015.
Speaking on the anticipated release of Windows 8 next month, Chang did not expect consumers to delay purchases of notebooks ahead of the major launch of the touch-friendly operating system.
According to a Citigroup survey, more than 75 percent of consumers have no idea when the Window 8-based notebooks will be available in the market, while only 6 percent said they were holding off on purchasing a notebook in anticipation of the Windows 8 release.
Chang was also skeptical that Ultrabooks would help boost notebook sales because consumers are spending less time at home using notebooks or desktop PCs.
Instead, Windows 8 tablets — with a keyboard docking function — would likely become more attractive to consumers over low-priced Ultrabooks as people prefer using tablets for entertainment, he said.