Microsoft's delay in shipping its Windows Vista operating system won't put a big dent in PC sales, although growth for the PC industry is going to slow in the coming years, according to IDC.
Microsoft said earlier this month that the pre-installed versions of Vista will not be available until January, although the OS will be released to business partners through its volume licensing program in November.
"Some consumers will certainly delay PC purchases until Vista is available, but we expect the delay to shift only moderate volume from the fourth quarter of 2006 into 2007 and will not cause a loss of sales," director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, Loren Loverde, said in a statement.
The Vista delay probably would, however, drive up marketing costs for Microsoft and for PC makers this year, as they tried to attract consumers and adjust to the new schedule, IDC said.
IDC's Vista predictions may provide some comfort for PC makers amid a generally tempered outlook.
While PC sales have grown about 15 per cent in the last two years, IDC predicts growth to slow to 10.5 per cent this year in most regions.
In 2007, growth would nudge slightly higher to 10.7 per cent, with 254 million PCs shipped, at a value of $US232 billion, IDC said.
It still regarded the figures as relatively strong. The company had expected a sharper decline in growth, but indications show commercial spending will rise in 2007 prompted in part by interest in Vista.
In November, IDC attributed the overall decline in growth to the end of a three-year buying cycle by businesses and consumers.
In another trend, desktops were losing ground to laptops, IDC said. Consumers were increasingly opting for notebooks, attracted by lower prices, wider screens and improved battery life.