The general availability of Windows 7 next month will not entice users to upgrade their PCs.
George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, said, "We don't expect the release of Windows 7 to significantly influence PC demand at year-end," Shiffler said. "At best, Windows 7 may generate a modest bump in home demand and possibly some added demand among small businesses. However, we aren't expecting most larger businesses, governments and educational institutions to express strong demand for the new operating system until late 2010. We're actually more concerned that vendors will overestimate the initial demand for Windows 7 and end up carrying excess inventories into 2010."
Gartner does not envision global shipments experiencing growth this year except as a very best-case scenario. PC units contracted 4.4% in the first half of 2009 compared to the first half of 2008. Worldwide PC shipments are on pace to reach 285 million units in 2009, a 2% decline from 2008 shipments of 291 million, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.
The decline is less than previous estimates, which project an 11% decrease in PC shipments.