Analysts: PC Sales Are Expected To Slow Due To Windows 8
PC sales this year will grow by an anemic 0.9 percent, down from a previous forecast of 4.4 percent, due in part to uncertainties over how well Windows 8 will be received. So says a Gartner analyst, with another analyst agreeing as well.
GeekWire reports that Wall Street analyst Rick Sherlund of Nomura said that Gartner has lowered its estimates for PC sales for both 2012 and 2013. For 2012, PC sales should grow only 0.9 percent over 2011, compared to a previous 4.4 percent growth estimate. For 2013, growth should be 11.1 percent, compared to a previous 11.9 percent estimate.
In his note, Sherlund noted the "controversy" about the tablet-centric design of Windows 8, reports GeekWire. He wrote:
"There is a transition required and we will likely see continued mixed reactions: more negative on the legacy 'desktop' platform and more positive for the touch 'Metro' platform where all the industry growth will come from. We are still expecting RTM by late July / August, and GA (general availability) by late September / early October."
Barron's reports that Jefferies & Co.'s Peter Misek warns that PC sales are being beaten down by sales of tablets. And he also says that Windows 8 may depress PC sales:
"We believe sales of traditional PCs to consumers continue to be challenged by secular headwinds such as the cannibalization by tablets and smartphones. Near-term headwinds include the pause due to Windows 8 launching in the fall, and the weak macro environment. Additionally, for enterprise, we believe we are approaching the end of the corporate PC refresh cycle."
I think the analysts may well be right that Windows 8 could depress PC sales. The tablet-centric operating system will be so new and confusing for many people that they'll likely prefer to stick with their existing PCs than have to learn a new interface.
I don't think that increased Windows 8 tablet sales will take up the slack. Windows 8 is very well-designed for tablets, but it's going up against the iPad and a slew of Android tablets, most likely including a low-cost one from Google. When it comes to sales of Windows devices, Microsoft could be in for a tough year.