Increasing acceptance of Windows 95 was one of the most interesting IT trends during the past year, says IDC country manager Graham Penn.
This year will see rapid adoption of Windows 95 by the business environment after initial reluctance to move to the new operating system.
“While business is still buying Windows 3.1 licences, about three-fifths of businesses are going into Windows 95 and about one-fifth into Windows NT. Purchases of 3.1 licenses are down,” says Penn.
New technology such as MMX, thin clients and non-Intel chips have not had much of an impact on the New Zealand market yet.
Penn made his comments as he announced the latest IDC statistics for the PC market. Once again the top vendor was Compaq, which has maintained its market share lead in the New Zealand PC industry for another year.
Compaq is the1996 market leader by a comfortable margin, but Penn says “the next four are so close, it was a matter of splitting percentage points”. IBM, PC Direct, Digital Equipment and Apple respectively were next in order of total PC shipments.
Penn says the top five companies are all the same as for 1995, with just a bit of minor shifting in the positions of the four companies below Compaq.
Toshiba is still the largest notebook seller by a large margin and Compaq dominates the PC server market by an even larger gap. Compaq is also tops in the desktop market, followed by local computer company PC Direct.
Penn says there was also a lot of movement among a host of smaller players.
Overall, total PC shipments in New Zealand were down by 5% in 1996 compared to 1995, with 194,000 units being shipped — 120,000 of these being to first-time PC buyers, the rest replacing older machines.
“People who already had PCs had no reason to upgrade. That will probably change this year because those who bought computers during the 1994 boom will have three-year-old computers which are getting a bit long in the tooth.”
Penn predicts the roll-over from the installed base will make up most of the sales this year, with first-time buyers making up around 10-12% growth in the market.
“This will not be evenly spread, however, as some segments will not need to buy or will not have the money to buy, making selling to some parts of the market difficult.”
As part of the overall trend downwards there were fewer notebook and desktops shipped last year. Bucking that trend was a rise in the number of PC servers sold, reflecting the continuing trend toward the client-server model of computing.
Penn says IDC research has found that Cyrix and AMD chips make up less than 2% of the PC market, but he predicts AMD will become more well known by the middle of this year, when machines start coming through from America.
“With the recent announcement from Compaq of a PC with a Cyrix chip in it, as well as PC Direct’s model, Cyrix should also get more attention around April or May.”
Penn says there is not enough MMX software for it to be a factor yet and that while MIS managers may be interested in thin clients and network computers, it is still very much an experimental technology. The same goes for universal serial bus and fibre-optic channel in PCs.
Penn says the interesting thing about 1996’s results is what is happening to the older model machines which are capable of still functioning well — such as x808s, 286s, 386s and low -specced 486s.
“We haven’t got a good handle on what is happening to business and government computers which are three years old or older. They are still functional but no longer used. Some are auctioned, and some are refurbished and sold. Perhaps some are making their way into smaller businesses — a 486/25 would still be good for word processing and accounting. You would have to do a massive user survey to find out exactly what is happening to them.”