RealTime IT News

Microsoft Looks at Refresh Rate

SEATTLE -- Will Poole did the math for OEMs: Lowering the corporate refresh rate (the time between replacement purchases) on PCs by two percent could add $1.7 billion to the PC market in 2007 alone.

Poole, a senior vice president at Microsoft, told hardware manufacturers at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference that the rather ugly 4 percent growth expected in the desktop PC market could be offset by increases in sales of laptops and media-oriented devices.

While the average sale price of PCs also is declining, Poole said, both the unit sales and average sale price for digital televisions is on a strong upward trend. One key to increasing sales, Poole said, is therefore getting consumers to connect Media Center PCs to all those HDTVs.

He pointed out that people who buy Windows Media Center Edition tend to spend around $600 more on "attached" goods like printers and speakers.

While most of the 2 million Media Center PCs sold so far are the tower form used in dens or family rooms, two-thirds or more have TV inputs, Poole said. But under a third are connected to a digital television. "There's opportunity to connect those Media Centers to the living room TV," Poole said, via a digital receiver or media extender.

For enterprises, which typically buy new PCs every five years, Microsoft hopes that better security and lower total cost of ownership will lure them to replace aging hardware a little sooner.

"We believe we can take away the 25 percent annual cost of managing a PC with Longhorn," Poole said. "With a reduction in TCO, we'll see enterprises stop spending on maintenance and start spending on new machines."

Without offering details, Poole said Microsoft would try to appeal to the approximately 75 million small businesses worldwide, which he admitted had been underserved by Windows technology, by building a product labeled for small businesses.

To back up Longhorn, Microsoft recently launched what Poole called its most ambitious advertising campaign "ever." The campaign will run for 15 months in 11 markets, until the actual Longhorn launch.