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Windows Vista Makes Limited Impact On PC Sales, Analysts Reveal

Unless Microsoft became much more aggressive in its marketing efforts, Vista's market impact was not expected to change in the future, Gartner reports.

Microsoft Windows Vista has had "very limited impact" on PC demand or replacement sales since the operating system's release in January, a market research firm said this week.

PC shipments, mobile and desktop, are expected to total 257.1 million units this year, an 11.1% increase over last year shipments of 231.5 million units, Gartner said Wednesday. Windows Vista, however, is contributing little to the projected increase.

"The release of Microsoft Windows Vista operating system at the end of January has, so far, failed to stimulate the market in the way many hoped," Gartner analyst George Shiffler said in a statement. "Our market data suggest Vista has had very limited impact on PC demand or replacement activity."

Vista's market impact was not expected to change in the future, unless Microsoft became much more aggressive in its marketing efforts, Shiffler said.

Emerging markets, on the other hand, are having a significant impact on global shipments. About 55% of PC shipments to those regions reflect first-time PC sales, as opposed to replacements, Gartner said. Emerging markets are expected to contribute about 128 million unit shipments during the next two years, 77 million desktops and 51 million notebooks. The total is expected to represent about a quarter of all PC shipments during the time period.

In mature markets expectations are not as bright. "Continuing strong demand for mobile PCs, especially among consumers, offer vendors tremendous growth opportunities," Shiffler said. "But, generally weak desk-based PC replacement activity and narrowing penetration opportunities, especially among larger businesses, pose some serious challenges."

Mobile PC shipments worldwide are forecast to reach 103.2 million units this year, a 27.1% increase from last year, Gartner said. Desktop shipments, however, are predicted to increase by only 2.4% to 153.9 million units.

Driving mobile PC sales are lower average selling prices, better performance, and expanded wireless access, the research firm said. ASPs for mobile PCs globally was below $1,100, but buyers in many parts of the world had a wide range of choices for less than $1,000.

Market researcher iSuppli this week increased its forecast for PC shipments this year, due to stronger-than-expected notebook sales in the first quarter. Global PC shipments are expected to rise to 264 million units this year, an 11.2% increase from the 239 million PCs shipped in 2006, iSuppli said. The firm's previous forecast called for a 10.7% increase.

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