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Notebook Demand Declines Ahead of Windows 8 Release

Notebook Demand Declines Ahead of Windows 8 Release

Notebook PC manufacturers, such as Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), have hoped that Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) upcoming operating system would reinvigorate corporate and consumer interest in their products. A new report suggests that may not be the case.

According to DigiTimes, notebook vendors and ODMs continue to be "quite optimistic" about the growth that is expected to occur internationally. Taiwan-based component makers are less enthused, staying conservative about their notebook sales estimates in the coming months. If component shipments do not experience a significant increase by late October, the component makers believe that there will not be any growth in the demand for notebooks in the fourth quarter.

Consequently, "first-tier PC brand vendors" have reduced their shipment forecasts for 2012, with one exception. According to DigiTimes, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will raise MacBook shipments by as much as 30 percent in the fourth quarter, selling as many as 16 million units.

While Apple's success has been speculated before, it is worth noting that the company recently cut the price of the 13-inch MacBook Air by $100. Companies do not usually reduce their prices unless they are experiencing a decline in sales, they anticipate a decline, or plan to release an updated product. Since the price cut was announced alongside the updated MacBook Air, it seems unlikely that Apple would release another model this year. More than likely, Apple will save its Retina Display upgrade for 2013.

The decline in notebook demand could also be blamed on the growth of tablets. This is something that Microsoft has been preparing for, which is why it designed Windows 8 with tablets in mind.

Regardless, component makers might not have anything to worry about. In a previous report, studies showed that all computers -- notebooks, netbooks, and desktop machines -- were on schedule for another growth spurt. In 2010, 350.9 million computers were shipped worldwide. Last year, that number jumped to 352 million. In 2012, global PC shipments are expected to reach 367.2 million.

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