Thank XP: Desktop PC sales take off again in Western Europe

Enterprises are buying desktops again to get away from Windows XP, according to Gartner

PC sales in Western Europe have risen after 13 consecutive quarters of decline, according to market research company Gartner. The market research company said government spending and the replacement of machines running Windows XP contributed to the growth.

Across the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, PC sales grew by 0.3 percent after eight quarters of decline.

PC shipments in the region totaled 22.9 million units during the first quarter, compared to 22.8 million in the first quarter of 2013. The impending end of support for Windows XP boosted commercial sales, while delayed government buying in large western European countries also helped, according to Gartner.

"Funnily enough the growth was driven by desktops. The main reason is that a lot of enterprises and smaller and mid-sized companies in Europe are lagging behind with the migration from Windows XP," said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.

Manufacturers and resellers won't be able to live off the migration from Windows XP in the long term, but in a PC market that has been struggling for two years as a result of the growing interest in smartphones and tablets, it will provide a welcome boost for a few of quarters to come, according to Escherich.

The economic situation in Europe is also improving, and business and governments are adjusting their spending to match. However, not all segments looked as good as commercial sales of desktops. The notebook market was stagnant, and sales to consumers were sluggish, Escherich said.

Hewlett-Packard held on to the largest share of the market: Its shipments grew by 15.3 percent year-on-year. Lenovo cemented its number-two spot as sales increased by 35.6 percent. The company has now had seven consecutive quarters of strong growth, Gartner said. Acer retained the third place even though its sales dropped by 2.7 percent.

"Companies who specialize in the business segment like HP and Fujitsu, for example, did much better than the pure consumer vendors like Acer," Escherich said.

Worldwide PC shipments fell by 1.7 percent to 76.6 million units. Lenovo, HP and Dell were the three largest vendors, Gartner said.

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