Chip sales are usually slow in the first quarter of any year. But 2007 is shaping up to be a blah year in the microprocessor business all the way through. What's the problem?
But what makes 2007 special? At least one reason is the transition to the Windows Vista operating system. Microsoft (MSFT) has said it sold 20 million Vista licenses in its first month of general release. Still, PC upgrades on both the consumer and enterprise side of the business have been slow to materialize amid questions over whether to upgrade immediately. Meanwhile on the Apple side, new machines and a new operating system are expected early in the summer, kicking off an upgrade cycle that should last well into the second half of the year.
PC shipments grew about 10% in 2006, according to estimates by research firm Gartner, to slightly less than 240 million units, and revenue remained flat, at about $201 billion. The firm has forecast meager unit growth - about 9.9% - and essentially flat revenue growth for 2007.