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IDC: Windows 8.1 Quite Unlikely To Uplift The PC Market

Oh boy, that did not take long at all. While one would guess that after the release of Windows 8, most would have understood that a single software product can rarely save a whole industry. And that too, something as highly volatile as the PC market!

Something has to come from the hardware makers themselves too, in order to turn things around.

But while Microsoft expect Windows 8.1 to pave way for a new wave of devices optimized for touch, in what capacity does the OS upgrade boost sales of new PCs after hitting the market in October remains to be seen.

As far as market researcher IDC is concerned, that is not going to happen. The firm rolled out a new forecast earlier today, claiming that worldwide PC shipments are now expected to fall by as much as 9.7 percent in 2013.

And this is projected to happen despite the debut of Windows 8.1. As Jay Chou, senior research analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC put it:

“The days where one can assume tablet disruptions are purely a First World problem are over. Advances in PC hardware, such as improvements in the power efficiency of x86 processors remain encouraging, and Windows 8.1 is also expected to address a number of well-documented concerns.

However, the current PC usage experience falls short of meeting changing usage patterns that are spreading through all regions, especially as tablet price and performance become ever more attractive.”

IDC does, however, expect a bit of a slow rebound next year. Microsoft will officially discontinue Windows XP in April 2014, and users and businesses both are expected to make the move to a newer platform like Windows 8 (and Windows 8.1, for that matter).

And as Rajani Singh, research analyst, Client Computing explained this is a transition that usually requires upgrading hardware as well:

“We also anticipate operating system migration (Window XP to 7) will drive some volume in the commercial segment. Entry-level ultraslim systems and lower-priced convertibles will also be bright spots in an otherwise still troubled consumer market.”

Currently, Windows XP remains the second most popular operating platform in the world, just behind Windows 7. It is installed on approximately 38 percent of computers worldwide right now, and analysts believe if Microsoft can convince the XP user base to upgrade, it may just tinker the situation positively.

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