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Windows 10 release won't save the PC market, warns Gartner

The next iteration of Windows will give PC sales a short-term boost, but nothing will change long-term, Gartner claims

The release of Windows 10 is unlikely to make much difference to the long-term prospects of the PC market, Gartner has warned.

According to the IT analyst house’s second quarter IT spending forecast, the release of Windows 10 on 29 July 2015 looks set to lead to a surge in PC sales from then until early 2016, but this won’t be enough to reverse the continued decline of the wider PC market.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, John-David Lovelock, head of forecasting at Gartner, said PC replacement cycles have lengthened in anticipation of Windows 10’s release over the past 18 months, but 2016 will remain a flat year for PC sales overall.

“In other words, it will be a good year, as flat is the new up, where PC sales are concerned. But in general, there will not be any significant new PC purchases, it’s mainly going to be replacements of existing PCs. The idea that Windows 10 will save the PC is just not going to hold true,” he said.

Microsoft’s next-generation operating system (OS) is being ushered in as a replacement for the much-maligned Windows 8/8.1.

The latter was released in October 2012 as the successor to the hugely popular Windows 7, but struggled to gain much in the way of traction in the business and consumer world, thanks to complaints about its clunky user interface and the removal of the start menu.

Microsoft moved to correct this with the release of Windows 8.1 in August 2012, but despite a sizeable fanfare, the OS struggled to make much of a dent in the market share of either Windows XP or Windows 7.

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According to NetMarketshare’s monthly look at worldwide usage of various desktop operating systems, Windows 7 remains installed on nearly 58% of PCs as of May 2015, while XP features on 14.60%, despite entering end of life in April 2014.

By contrast, Windows 8.1 runs on 12.9% of desktops and Windows 8 on just 2.57%, NetMarketshare’s figures show.

Lovelock said Gartner anticipates Windows 7 will retain its hold in the consumer market for some time to come, but, having exited mainstream support in January 2015, the enterprise will be quicker to make the move to Windows 10.

“We’re looking forward to a good replacement cycle around Windows 10. There is still going to be that wide histogram of reactions between people who want to move right now verses those who are still on Windows 95, but it’s not going to be the damp squib Windows 8 was,” Lovelock added.

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