The release next month of Windows 7, Microsoft’s new operating system for desktop PCs, should give the SA PC market a much-needed fillip. However, the full potential of the market will not be realised because of high broadband prices.
That’s the view of Mustek CEO David Kan, pictured, who says consumers are reluctant to buy PCs because they can’t afford to go online.
Mustek assembles Mecer branded PCs at its facility in Midrand and also distributes products for a number of international technology companies.
Kan says Windows 7 should result in a noticeable improvement in demand for PCs from both retail consumers and the business market. Many consumers have chosen to skip the bloated Windows Vista operating system, released three years ago, and have kept running the now eight-year-old Windows XP product.
“Initially, Windows 7 will create some hype and demand and will result in people replacing their hardware,” Kan says. “Whether that improvement in sales will be sustained, time will tell.”
He says many companies have put off hardware upgrades in the past year as part of measures designed to cut costs in the face of the worldwide economic crisis. The corporate and government sectors have been worst hit, Kan says.
“The government sector is allowing budgets to be rolled over and companies are holding back and trying to hang on to their hardware for as long as possible.”
But Kan says some large companies in SA are planning to refresh their hardware soon after Windows 7 launches. He says many will abandon the traditional approach of waiting for Microsoft to release a first service pack of bug fixes before upgrading to the new operating system. That’s because Windows 7 is perceived to be a solid product at launch, unlike Windows Vista, which was plagued by a lack of hardware driver support and other problems.
In the SA consumer market, demand for PCs has been curtailed by the high cost of broadband Internet access. “Until telecommunications costs are normalised, the consumer market will remain under pressure. People aren’t buying computers, because they can’t afford access to the Internet.” — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral