Will Windows 7 be the catalyst?

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

As the recession stretches into 2009, companies are pushing their PC refresh cycles out to five years, according to solution providers contacted by Channel Insider. That's bad news for PC and server makers Dell, HP and Lenovo, but represents a different kind of opportunity for savvy solution providers.

Marc Harrison, president of solution provider Silicon East, believes that that trigger may be Windows 7, the new operating system Microsoft says will be delivered in 2009.

"I believe much of the hesitation to refresh comes from users opting to skip Vista and wait for Windows 7," Harrison says. "We've had quite a few clients recently add memory and replace hard drives on aging XP systems to extend their life long enough to get them to Windows 7."  Harrison adds that he believes PCs are inexpensive enough that he doesn't see users holding onto old hardware just to save money because newer, faster PCs can dramatically increase user productivity.

However, a new report from Forrester Research shows that of the four categories tracked in IT spending in 2009, computer equipment purchases – which include PCs, servers, storage devices and peripherals-- will fare the worst of all with a decline of 4 percent from $450 billion in 2008 to $434 billion in 2009. What's more, servers and PCs will see the weakest performance of all those technologies included in the computer equipment category, according to Forrester Research.

"Servers have been taken to the five year life if not longer," says Sam Ruggeri, president of solution provider Advanced Vision Technology Group in Hauppauge, N.Y., who adds that this extended cycle has been going on for a while. "Five years seem to be the norm as well on PCs now."

And extending computer hardware lifetime is not such an outrageous thing to do, says one analyst.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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