MS forecasts double-digit PC growth

When upturn comes

This year, PC sales worldwide will fall for the first time, and the longterm prognosis for the market is poor, according to some pundits.

The US, accounting for 40 per cent of PC sales, is saturated -everyone who wants a PC has got one, so it's now becoming a replacement business. Europe, accounting for another 40 per cent or so of worldwide sales is also maturing rapidly in the rich Western markets.

But should system builders, component makers, disties and the like be despondent? The answer is no, according to Microsoft, which predicts PC sales will return to 10 per cent growth rates.

Upbeat stuff, but at odds with Dataquest which predicts the upturn, when it comes, will see PC growth resume to "moderate single digits".

Jean-Phillipe Courois, president of Microsoft EMEA, acknowledges that the PC industry is becoming mature but "when you think of the number of people who could use a PC, we have just scratched at the surface", he told the FT.

As for today, Microsoft reckons that PC sales in EMEA will grow five per cent this year, (as opposed to seven per cent when it started planning the launch of Windows XP).