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Dumping of Windows XP (finally) slows plummeting PC sales

Dumping of Windows XP (finally) slows plummeting PC sales

Gartner: Sale of PCs is still dropping, just slower

Businesses that waited until the last minute to abandon Windows XP are now helping to flatten out the nosedive that saw PC sales drop off nearly 10% last year, Gartner says.

Thanks to those tardy businesses replacing Windows XP machines with newer desktops will slow the decline of PC sales from 9.5% last year to 2.9% in 2014, says Ranjit Atwal, a research director at Gartner.

+ Also on Network World: 10 disturbing attacks at Black Hat USA 2014; 9 must-do's if you must stick with Windows XP +

In making his prediction, Atwal includes desk-based, notebook and premium ultra-mobile devices in his calculations. "2014 will be marked by a relative revival of the global PC market," he says. The total sales will be 570 million worldwide.

But if the calculation is restricted just to traditional PCs -- desktops and laptops -- the decline in sales projected for this year is higher at 6.7%, dropping off to 5.3% next year, he says. The total sales for traditional PCs will be 276 million this year, he predicts.

"Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe," says Atwal in a statement. "This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets."

Certain sub-categories will show growth. Sales of premium ultra-mobile devices will increase 49.8%. Sales of tablets, which are not included in the PC mix, will grow 23.9%.

Demand for tablets with smaller screens is dropping, Atwal says, and demand for phablets -- phones with screens between 5.01 and 6.9 inches - in Southeast Asia is growing, blunting overall tablet growth.

Windows as an operating system for PCs, tablets and phones holds a distant second place behind Android but ahead of Apple, Atwal says. Android will pull down 48% of total sales, Windows will grab 13.7% and iOS/Mac OS accounts for 11.1%.

All three operating systems will show growth next year, cutting into the share held by Others, a category that will drop its share from 27.1% this year to 21% next. Windows next year will capture 14.4%, Apple 11.6%, but Android will dominate with 52.8%, Atwal's report says.

Windows phone is lumped in with the Windows count, and it will help overall Windows growth in the future. "Windows phones will exhibit strong growth from a low base in 2014, and are projected to reach a 10 percent market share by 2018 -- up from 4 percent in 2014," Atwal says.

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