In an interview with TabTimes, Gartner research director Angela McIntyre said that a large number of businesses have recently adopted Windows 7, and added that this, along with PC refresh cycles of between four and six years, will delay the introduction of Windows 8 in enterprise.
“The inventory of PCs in large enterprise is ageing and it is starting to cost more money to maintain old PCs, than to buy new ones”, said McIntyre. “It seems that most enterprises, all at once, went out and bought new machines.
“From what we’ve seen of Windows 8, it is promising platform with the Metro user interface and the ability to switch between a tablet interface and a more traditional UI for Office. However, many companies have already upgraded their systems with Windows 7, so we expect the uptake on Windows 8 to be a little slower. It doesn't have much to do with product capability, it is just that we are not quite at the right time for PC refreshes".
Gartner expects this delay to impact the introduction of Windows 8 tablets, but believes that the operating system will become a key market player for tablets over the next five years. McIntyre added that tablets and smartphones are taking away from PC sales, and suggested that this trend could also delay the upgrade of PCs in the home.
Gartner recently published a report which stated that world-wide PC shipments grew 3.2% year-on-year to reach 91.2 million units in Q3 of 2011. The market research firm had forecast a 5.1% growth for the quarter and attributed this lower-than-expected growth down to poor demand in western Europe, an inventory build-up and to the popularity of non-PC devices, like the iPad and smartphones.
A day after Gartner's announcement, IDC said that world-wide PC shipments increased by 3.6% YoY to 91.88 million units in Q3, a figure that was lower than its projection of a 4.5% growth for the quarter. The firm put this down to depressed consumer spending.