Intel urges SMEs: Don't delay PC refresh

Chip giant Intel urges small and medium-sized enterprises to avoid lengthening their PC refresh cycles as a cost-cutting measure during the recession.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

Chip giant Intel has urged small and medium-sized enterprises to avoid lengthening their PC refresh cycles as a cost-cutting measure during the recession, reiterating that security risk and maintenance bills could cost companies more than if they were to purchase new PCs.

The call came after a recent study found that 43 percent of medium-sized businesses and 26 percent of small businesses intend to delay their PC upgrade plans. The study, conducted by market research consultancy Techaisle between February and March, involved 630 companies in seven countries — Australia, Brazil, China, India, Italy, the UK and the US.

According to Techaisle, desktops that have been in use for over three years are 28 percent more likely to be attacked by a virus than those that have been used for less than three years. In the case of notebooks, older machines were 58 percent more likely to suffer a virus attack. Older desktops and notebooks were also likely to have greater downtime from virus incidents, compared with newer systems.

In addition, 49 percent of SMEs experience power supply failure on PCs that are older than three years, compared to only 11 percent for machines with a shorter lifespan. Hard drive failure also affected 33 percent of SMEs with older PCs, compared to eight percent for newer systems.

Techaisle also found that for older PCs, small businesses spend an average annual maintenance cost of $545 (£330), while medium-sized businesses fork out $709.

Citing a separate report from J Gold Associates, Robert Crooke, general manager and vice president of Intel's business client group, pointed out that PCs in their first year cost an average of $126 in repair costs. With competitively priced PCs that start from around $540 for a desktop, SMEs could benefit from having their maintenance costs lowered and having systems that are less susceptible to virus attacks, he said Friday in a web briefing with Asia-Pacific media.

"Customers are taking a risk in [delaying refreshes] — they're more likely to be attacked by viruses on their notebooks and desktops, experience system failures, and maintenance costs are going to go up," noted Crooke.

Tony Liao, assistant vice president of sales and marketing at Taiwanese hardware vendor Gigabyte, noted that many SMBs did not upgrade to Windows Vista from Windows XP, so there had been a gap in the PC refresh cycle. However, with the more "user-friendly" Windows 7 due to launch later this year, SMEs would be "looking to upgrade" their systems, he said.

Techaisle research showed that over half of the SMEs surveyed are already in or about to enter a phase of higher maintenance costs.

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