Long-awaited PC upgrade cycle coming, Gigabyte says

Hardware maker says Windows 7 is a better reason to upgrade than Windows Vista was

A long-awaited PC upgrade cycle among small and medium-sized businesses may lie just around the corner, according to an executive at a Taiwanese hardware maker.

The upgrade cycle could begin during the fourth quarter of this year as small and medium-sized companies may start replacing older computers with new ones, driven in part by demand for Windows 7, said Tony Liao, associate vice president of worldwide marketing at Gigabyte Technology, who spoke to reporters during a conference call organized by Intel.

Gigabyte is one of the world's largest PC motherboard makers and produces a range of products, including laptops and desktops, based on Intel processors and chipsets.

If the promised upgrade cycle does happen, this would be the first widespread PC upgrade to happen in "several years," Liao said, noting that hardware makers didn't see widespread PC upgrades during the transition from Windows XP to Windows Vista, which was released in January 2007.

The problem at that time was Vista.

"Windows Vista was not so popular and not so suitable, in general," Liao said, adding that by comparison Windows 7 should give users more reasons to buy a new PC.

Windows 7 is scheduled for release in October.

That forecast is good news for Intel, which held the conference call to discuss the findings of a research project carried out by Techaisle, which found that more small and medium-sized business are holding onto their computers longer before upgrading them.

Intel, which depends on sales of new computers to generate revenue, would rather see companies upgrade their computers every three years or so. In recent months, the company has tried to encourage companies to buy new PCs by warning that users who don't will suffer from higher IT maintenance costs, security breaches and more frequent hardware failures.

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