Report: 1 Billion PCs in Use by 2008

The 1 billionth PC is expected to roll off the assembly line and into use by the end of 2008, some 31 years after its introduction to the market, and that number will reach 2 billion just seven years later, according to new projections.

Much of the growth during the PC’s first three decades has been fueled by sheer demand of people and businesses for more PCs to perform everyday tasks, better technology, lower hardware prices and the explosion of the Internet, said the June 12 Forrester Research report, “Worldwide PC Adoption Forecast to 2015.” Between 2003 and 2015, the compound annual growth rate of the PC market will reach more than 12 percent, according to Forrester.

But the next big opportunity is emerging markets, especially in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, where the expansion of the global economy and extension of the IT infrastructure have caused an explosion in the PC user population. By 2015, these four markets alone will account for $775 million in new PCs annually.

Steve Wozniak helped invent the modern PC with the Apple II. Click here to read his thoughts on the last 30 years.

While these emerging markets could prove to be very lucrative, the Forrester report found that major OEMs will have to be remain leery of high-volume launches of new PCs into these markets.

For one, vendors will not have the luxury of test marketing new PCs on a small scale, since the economies of these markets will force them to bring large amount of new products to market faster. In addition, product life cycles will remain much longer in these emerging markets as opposed to mature markets. This means that vendors cannot count on selling a steady supply of PCs to customers every few years.

Finally, the report singles out four particular programs— Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential, Intel’s World Ahead, Advanced Micro Devices’ 50X15 and One Laptop Per Child—for reaching out to these emerging markets in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Microsoft says its Unlimited Potential initiative aims to give an additional billion people access to computers by the year 2015. Click here to read more.

Now, according to Forrester analysts, other vendors need to offer their own emerging market plans in order to allow five times the amount of PCs to enter these markets at just one-fifth the cost. Putting more PCs into these emerging markets will speed the growth of the industry in the coming decade.

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