According to the story in ComputerWorld, PC demand is way up, starting to show an upward tilt as early as July. (I’m sure that Mr. Ballmer is delighted that the offer of Windows 7 for PCs purchased after July 1 was made; it’s his first good decision in recent memory!)

Of course, there is the natural cycle of PC replacement, the lessening of the downturned economy, and the natural want of something new.

People are snapping up new desktop and laptop PCs long before the launch of Windows 7, a sign of strong demand in the market, analysts say.

Demand for PCs improved in July and August, which is “something special, because the expectation was that many people would delay purchases until after Windows 7 came out in October,” said Manish Nigam, head of technology research in Asia for Credit Suisse, at a technology conference in Taipei.

Consumers often wait until after the launch of a major new operating system to buy a new PC for fear of having to pay for the upgrade and to avoid the hassle of loading the new software themselves. This time, strong marketing of free or discounted Windows 7 upgrades for new PC buyers — ahead of the official launch of the OS on Oct. 22 — appears to have worked.

There were also fears the global recession might continue to affect PC demand.

PC shipment growth declined for six straight months, from the beginning of the fourth quarter of last year through the end of the first quarter of this year, iSuppli said in a report last week, as the global financial crisis slammed world markets. Sequential growth returned in the second quarter and will continue for the rest of this year as the global economy continues to recover and Windows 7 launches, the market researcher said.

While noting that the hype for Windows 7 is working, it is also noted that many users are happy with beta and pre-release experiences. (No figures are given for the users who are simply happy that “It’s not Vista!”)

Also noted are supply crunches in DDR3 DRAM, LCD screens, and laptop batteries. (Though most observers who follow these things know of the memory crunches and price hikes each year in the period from pre-back-to-school to Christmas.)

Certain processors are also showing a period of lowered availability, which is certainly to the liking of AMD and Intel.

This is a bad time for the parts buyer, who is building his or her own machine, but a good time for the people who simply purchase pre-assembled – it truly is ‘kids at Christmas’.


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