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IDC: Desktops still the dominant business choice

Despite market erosion and competition from other form factors IDC has found demand for PCs from business remains strong

It has been a couple of months since Windows 10 arrived and during the past few weeks there has been a real effort made by those who love statistics to try to get a sense of just what the OS has meant for the PC market.

One of the hopes was that it would cause a surge in hardware upgrades, for users that wanted to get access to all the functionality of the latest software, and would give the channel a lift in the last quarter of 2015.

As well as Microsoft blowing the trumpet over the arrival of the OS the hardware vendors have also done their bit rolling out new products in time to appeal to users looking for something flash on the desktop.

Last year saw the migration away from Windows XP driving the commercial desktop market and inevitably that was going to run out of steam at some point and gravity would be felt in the PC world.

That has very much been the case this year with the figures from all the major analyst houses indicating that the market has dropped and remains sluggish. But before those "PC is dead" doomsayers clear their throats and start getting ready to read the last rites again there are some signs that Windows 10 is having an impact.

IDC has gone out to quiz business users about what is used in the offices up and down the country and found that the PC remains the main form factor with many purchasers indicvating they will refresh the technology.

The advantages that PCs have continue to be price, performance, long lifecycles and better durability. Users are also familiar with the technology, which can help reduce the training overheads.

"The average lifetime of a desktop is one year longer than a laptop, reducing total cost of ownership for a company," said Maciek Gornicki, research manager, IDC personal computing.

"As a result, lower price and and better resilience definitley make desktop the best choice for companies that have limited budgets and that require solutions for non-mobile office employees. On the other hand, desktops' higher security will benefit businesses that operate in industries such as insurance, finance, and banking, as well as government agencies," he added.

The analyst house identified a further couple of trends with users expressing a preference for smaller PCs where possible as they looked for desktops that had a smaller footprint as well as finding there was an appetite for Windows 10.

"The majority of companies are expected to rollo out the new operating system without purchasing new hardware initially, especially as a large proportion of desktops in the commerce PC installed base should fit the requirements of Windows 10," said Gormicki.

"Some companies are likely, however, to consider rolling out new hardware at the same time due to the new Intel Skylake platform coming into the market, as it is expected to bring manageability and security benefits, as well as enhance efficiency compared with older platforms," he added.

As a result of that situation IDC is expecting some hardware renewal activity to kick in at the start of next year. That doesn't mean that the rest of 2015 is not going to be a time for the channel to talk about PCs with many customers looking for guidance as they start to plan digital transformation projects.

IDC believes that user demands for devices that are enjoyable to use that also can deliver high levels of security should play into the hands of the PC industry.

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