Mon, Oct 22, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Notebook buying spree currently unlikely: brokerages

Staff writer, with CNA

A buying spree of notebook computers running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is unlikely to be seen until the second half of next year as high price tags may prompt consumers to put their purchasing plans on hold, foreign brokerages said on Saturday.

In addition, the rising popularity of tablet computers is expected to hamper sales of the new gadgets equipped with the Windows 8 operating system, the brokerages said.

They added that the weakness of the global economic fundamentals which has hurt demand for high-tech products is expected to weaken consumers’ interest in new devices bundled with Windows 8.

Microsoft is scheduled to unveil the Windows 8 operating system on Friday and the market has widely expected the new invention will revive buying interest in notebook computers.

Many hope the new operating system will lead to the mass replacement of old models and boost shipments for notebook computer makers in the fourth quarter of this year.

However, Eve Jung (戎宜蘋), a hardware industry analyst with Nomura Securities, said she is not that optimistic.

In a research note, Jung said she expects a buying spree of Windows 8 models will not happen in the fourth quarter of this year, but might happen in the second half of next year, taking into account their high prices.

Kirk Yang (楊應超), an analyst with Barclays Plc, said that until prices of ultrabook computers fall to between US$699 and US$799, and prices of regular notebook computers are cut to between US$599 and US$699, Windows 8 models will not appear attractive enough to give a big revenue boost to notebook computer makers.

Yang said he is also afraid that slowing global demand will hurt buying in the fourth quarter, adding that he has lowered a forecast of notebook computer shipment growth for the quarter to 8 percent from 12 percent.

In the fourth quarter, low-priced tablet computers may continue to erode sales and gross margins of notebook computer ODM services providers, Jung said.

As a result, Jung has maintained a “reduce” rating on shares of Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦) and Wistron Corp (緯創) and reiterated a “neutral” recommendation on shares of Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) and Pegatron Corp (和碩).

However, Jung has rated a “buy” on shares of personal computer vendor Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦).

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