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Driven by positive business sales, the PC market is set to grow 0.8% in 2018, according to the latest survey from analyst Gartner.
The study was conducted online during June and July 2017, with 16,537 respondents aged from 18 to 74 years old, in the US, UK, Germany, China and India.
It reported that business PC shipments are estimated to return to growth by the end of 2017. This is being driven by faster Windows 10 replacement in many regions, especially in Western Europe.
According to Microsoft’s Windows lifecycle factsheet, support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on 9 April 2013. Support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 will continue through to 14 January 2020.
As Computer Weekly has previously reported, older versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, have limited support when running on new processors and chipsets from manufacturers such as Intel, AMD, NVidia and Qualcomm.
“Despite the fact that prices have been rising due to higher component costs, Windows 10 replacements have kept the PC market relatively stable through 2017,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “We estimate that the PC market – desk-based, notebook and ultramobiles – is set to return to 0.8% growth in 2018.”
On the enterprise side, Atwal said: “Many business PCs are on Windows 7. The strategic direction for most organisations is to move to the cloud, and make greater use of mobility and improve security.” He added that Windows 10 offers functionality to help businesses move this strategy forward.
But Windows 10 has also divorced the historical connection between hardware and the operating system update. “With Windows 10, there are six monthly updates to the operating system, which means IT has to re-engineer upgrade processes,” said Atwal.
Read more about Windows 10 PC refresh
“Organisations can stay on PC hardware much longer, but some of the features coming from Microsoft – such as augmented reality, virtual reality or face recognition – will require new PC hardware.
“Users holding onto their PCs for longer remains a major issue for the PC market. In contrast, users continue to replace their smartphone quite frequently.”
According to Atwal, the misconception persists that the world has gone mobile and relies solely on smartphones. “However, our latest online user survey shows that users depend just as much on PCs or tablets as they do on smartphones,” he said.
“Some 40% of respondents said that they use mostly a PC/tablet for certain daily experiences, such as reading and writing detailed emails or watching videos, while 34% mostly use a smartphone for its convenience while on the move.”