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Euro businesses slow to adopt Windows 2000

But overall growth of PC market to bounce back

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Survey The latest survey from market research company IDC covering the European, Middle Eastern and African (Emea) markets has revealed that sales of PCs were slow in the first quarter. But IDC also forecasts that the market will bounce back, growing by over 16 per cent, later in the year, despite intense competition and cost cutting. IDC said that growth will largely be driven by continued consumer interest in the Internet while Microsoft Windows 2000 is unlikely to help the corporate market for PCs until the second half of the year. Nearly 39 million PCs are expected to ship in the European, Middle East and Africa region, IDC forecasts, although relentless competition and a slump in prices on all components are likely to mean the value, rather than the volume, of the market will be affected. PC vendors, according to IDC, will have to improve their individual business models, become ever more efficient and also develop sales unconnected to systems to continue to turn in good profits. Large corporations are adopting a wait and see attitude to Microsoft W2k, and that will lead to limited growth in Q1, which IDC estimates at 10 per cent. The small to medium sized sectors will, however, slightly offset this low growth. It will be the second half of the year before W2k will be deployed by big businesses, and that will stimulate upgrades in the sector. The move to so-called free PCs coupled with increased interest in the Net will mean European countries including the UK, France and Germany can expect to see consumer sales grow by 21 per cent. Notebook sales will also show strong growth, partly fuelled by increased competition and also by price/performance. The server market is also likely to show "solid growth" during the year, although IDC warns of sharp price declines which will affect margins and sales throughout the marketplace. IDCs top five vendors for the Emea territories show that Compaq continues to dominate the market, followed by Fujitsu Siemens, Dell, IBM and HP. However, their market shares are somewhat dwarfed by the Others Corporation, which held over 50 per cent of sales in 1999, and include the myriad of system builders and smaller PC companies which give the top five so much competition. ®

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