OEMs - Get ready for slow Holiday sales this year

Summary:I know, I know, it's only July and I'm pretty sure that most of you don't want to think about the holiday season just yet, but I'm betting that OEMs already have their eye on December and are woried about how the uncertainty over a shipping date for Windows Vista is going to affect their sales.

I know, I know, it's only July and I'm pretty sure that most of you don't want to think about the holiday season just yet, but I'm betting that OEMs already have their eye on December and are woried about how the uncertainty over a shipping date for Windows Vista is going to affect their sales.

My guess is that OEMs are going to have to brace themselves When you combine a new OS with January sales, buying a new PC at the end of '06 just doesn't make sensefor lower than expected sales of computer systems over the holiday period this year.  Why?  Beause come November and December, Vista will be (hopefully) close enough to release that people who are thinking about buying a new PC will know that Vista is coming (I'm already getting enquiries from people wanting to know where they can get a PC with Vista on it), and there will be a many people who won't want to buy a PC that has Windows XP on it.  

I suspect that OEMs are probably going to try to counter this dip in sales by offering lower prices and free offers of upgrades to Vista, but the wise buyer is also going to know that if they wait a month or two, they're going to get a better PC for less that has Vista already installed on it.  Even if manufacturers drop their prices towards the end of the year, the deals are going to be better come New Year.

In fact, I have to be honest and say that OEMs who are planning on giving out free Vista upgrades to users who buy XP-based systems over the holidays could be pulling more trouble to their heads than it's worth.  The move from XP to Vista is not going to be trouble-free for everyone, and the type of people that buy PCs over the holidays are unlikely to have enough sense of adventure to solve these problems themselves.  If you're the kind of person that goes out and buys a system with an OS installed, an upgrade to Vista, free or otherwise, is an extra headache.

It's also going to be darn hard to honestly suggest that people buy a new PC during the months of November and December:

“Yeah, sure.” <smile broadly> “Go ahead and spend your money on that PC” .. and then I can have a laugh come January/February when you see the same PC, or more likely a better one, that has Vista already on it for sale for a lot less…

I know that you can take the argument of wait a while and the price will come down and apply it to pretty much anything in the tech world, but when you combine a new OS with January sales, buying at the end of '06 just doesn't make sense.

Thoughts?  Anyone out there going to be buying a new PC come December?  Or do you think that buyers won't care enough about Vista to wait?  Since Vista is now delayed until '07, should Microsoft take their time with Vista and wait for a later release date?

Topics: Windows

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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