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Vista, dual-core to boost PC growth in '07

Posted: 09 Jan 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC? processor? microprocessor? dual-core? multi-core?

For the PC industry, 2006 was the year when corporations began to worry about Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows Vista operating system, and the competitive battleground in the microprocessor market shifted from adding more gigahertz to adding more cores.

In 2007, the arrival of Vista in the consumer market, the increased availability of multi-core microprocessors and a recovery in the desktop segment will mean greater sales growth in PCs, iSuppli Corp. predicts.

Global PC shipments will increase to 262.9 million units in 2007, up 10.2 percent from 238.5 million in 2006. This compares to 9 percent growth in 2006.

Microsoft's huge marketing effort for Vista will create a halo effect for the entire PC industry, helping to boost sales, iSuppli believes. Meanwhile, the proliferation of dual-core microprocessors will spur demand for new systems.

Another factor behind the rise in sales is a pickup in demand for the desktop PC market. Desktop PC sales are expected to rise by 4.9 percent in 2007, compared to 1.4 percent in 2006.

So why will desktop shipments grow in 2007?

The wider availability of Vista will help, as will the increased penetration of dual-core microprocessors. After all, with a new operating system, and faster, cheaper microprocessors, there's more reason to buy a PC in 2007 than there was in 2006.

On the other hand, unit shipment growth in the notebook PC market will slow down slightly from 26.7 percent in 2006, but still will exhibit impressive growth of 20.7 percent.

While dual-core microprocessors have been all the rage this year, in 2007 quad-core microprocessors from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. will hit the market. Although quad core represents the highest level of microprocessor performance available, and therefore is really required by only a small portion of PC users, the technology raises the profile of the PC in the mediaboth in the specialized and in the regular press.

This will help generate attention and boost sales. On the PC OEM side, it will be interesting to see how Dell Inc. reacts to Hewlett-Packard Co.'s ascendance to become the world's leading PC brand, an event that occurred back in the third quarter of 2006. What steps will Dell take to reclaim its leading position? iSuppli believes Dell will hit back hard with concerted marketing efforts as it strives to regain the lead.

With the technology drivers in place and some new excitement added to the market, 2007 will be a better year than 2006 was for the PC market, iSuppli predicts.

- Matthew Wilkins

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