PC unit sales could see 10 percent drop in Q3: analyst

A Jefferies research analyst foresees a drop in PC sales following further trouble for the two largest PC builders, HP and Dell. All roads lead to Microsoft's Windows 8, it seems.

PC unit sales could fall as much as 5--10 percent in the third-quarter from a year ago, according to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek's latest research note published late on Monday night.

Misek sees a troublesome time ahead for PC builders following a single-digit drop in PC shipments in the second quarter, particularly with Dell and HP.

It comes after he estimates what was a low drop in second-quarter PC shipments.

It also follows only a month after the two PC makers saw their target prices cut with analysts suggesting: "Windows 8 will prove to be a disappointment, at least out of the gate."

Misek suggests Microsoft --- following its Surface tablet announcement earlier this month --- will compete with its own OEM partners that will likely "confuse end users." He adds that Huawei could expand to Windows 8 tablets, as well as Windows Phone 8 smartphones, which will likely "create pressure on HP and Dell."

While the tablet and ultrabook markets appear separated and distinguishable from one another, the Windows 8 hybrid of part tablet, part notebook will likely be approached by OEMs "cautiously." The Windows tablet space is still up in the air and will be for some time --- understandably --- as Microsoft tries to take on Apple.

In an earlier note he said Windows 8 could "accelerate tablet cannibalization as the operating system focuses on touch," despite the consensus thinking Windows 8 will boost PC sales.

Windows 8 will more likely impact the consumer market than the enterprise, as "users of conventional non-touch notebooks and desktops could be confused by much of the new user interface."

All in all, Misek signs off his cheery note with: "Windows 8 is unlikely to drive much of a positive consumer PC upgrade cycle in the fourth-quarter."

Misek cut price estimates on Dell, which he lowered to $13 from $15, and HP down to $21 from $23 --- only weeks after reducing his target price to $23 from $30.

Image source: Microsoft/CNET.

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