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The desktop has not left the building, yet

October 9, 2009 • Features

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker recently reported that the worldwide shipment of portable PCs has surpassed desktop PCs in the first quarter of 2009. For some, this might just be the proverbial nail in the coffin; confirming what the skeptics have been saying all along, the desktop PCs livelihood is dwindling, and fast.

However, what some neglect to report is that IDC also believes the worldwide PC marketplace which includes desktops and notebooks will enjoy a spike closer to the end of the year with the introduction of Windows 7, expected to be launched by October 2009.

So yes, desktop sales are shrinking, however, it is gradual according to the IDC and is marketplace that still enjoys some support – going the way of the dodo is therefore not on the cards just yet. Inevitably, desktops will dwindle away, particularly as notebooks and netbooks become more
aggressively priced. But for now there is still some room left for it in the overall PC marketplace.

With this all said, what viability does desktops still have, particularly in the South African marketplace which tends to lag behind the adoption curve? Locally we see that marketplaces such as call centres and certain segments of the education sector continue to demand desktops.

Training centres and more particularly environments which run virtual desktops also create a need for these machines. Indeed, if anything, virtualisation has given desktops some relevance as it fights for its survival.

With desktop virtualisation, a lot of unnecessary cabling and software costs is mitigated, making it a cost-effective option for marketplaces which still require desktops for their daily business functions.

There is no doubt that the upcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup will also fuel desktop sales, particularly in the hospitality sector. Our foreign visitors will require connectivity services for IP Telephony, e-mail and general surfing. In other parts of the world, connectivity provided via desktops is
a given and no doubt our hospitality industry will strive to meet this
standard.

When looking more closely at the channel and desktop sales, unfortunately local players are taking some strain, particularly those who have built their business on selling unbranded “white box” PCs.

The reality is international brands are catching up to both unbranded and local brands as they are very competitively priced and offer the proverbial push and pull – international marketing campaigns that increases demand for well-known global brand that is well priced.

Desktops are therefore still selling it might just not be an unbranded or even local manufacturers’ equipment.

Therefore, if one considers the above, there is no doubt that desktops do have part to play; however, it would also be naïve to think desktops will be around for years to come. An increasingly mobile society coupled with elements such as social networking has created a PC marketplace which is
geared towards convenience, portability and usability.

Mandy Porter
Dell Business Unit Manager
Drive Control Corporation

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