The death of the desktop

Today, PC purchasing decisions have been made much harder by the introduction and onslaught of notebooks.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  December 27, 2003

PC purchasing decisions within the local market used to be relatively simple. Having worked out your requirements, it was then pretty much a case of opting for either an established brand or taking the white box route.

Today, this decision has been made that much harder by the introduction and onslaught of notebooks. Once the domain of the road warrior alone, laptops are now used by even the most sedentary of workers, as desktop replacements have grown increasingly popular.

The aggressive pricing and ceaseless marketing of the main vendors have further stimulated this growth. HP, Dell, Acer, IBM and tier two vendors such as DCS and Teledata are all pushing their products into the market, targeting consumers and businesses alike.

The growing adoption of notebooks by the Middle East's end users has had a severe impact on the desktop market. According to the latest figures from IDC, the UAE's desktop market witnessed a decline of 2.9% in terms of year-on-year shipment during 3Q03.

This comes despite a number of vendors unveiling new models based on Intel's latest hyper threading chipset and some large deals in the government sector.

The Saudi Arabian desktop market also witnessed a dramatic decline during the same period. The Kingdom's market dropped by 17.7% and although IDC suggests the decrease was due, primarily, due to the end of several projects in the corporate and education space, the rise of notebooks had a part to play. Evidence of this comes from the fact that while desktop sales declined, notebooks sales grew by 57.2% year-on-year.

So, should the channel abandon the humble PC in favour of the notebook?

Of course not. Rather than being dead, the local desktop market still has plenty of mileage left in it. IDC agrees and suggests the traditionally liquid verticals such as energy and government will keep spending, even if it is in line with established replacement buying cycles rather than stocking green field sites.

Furthermore, the predicted surge in demand from the Middle East's small-to-medium sized business (SMB) segment will provide even more opportunities. All the local channel needs to do is make sure it is geared up to take advantage of it.

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