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Windows Vista to Boost Local PC Market
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Microsoft's latest operating system Windows Vista finally hit the shelves yesterday.

Those having used Windows XP for close to six years, keen to embrace digital convergence, have been looking forward to Windows Vista, which offers richer and safer applications.

Due to its advanced features, most consumers' existing computers are unable to run the product, thus the huge demand for replacements and upgrades will be met by PC makers, engaged in price wars.

Chinese research house CCID Consulting said the shipment of computers grew by 18 percent to 23.37 million in 2006, but sales rose by less than 8 percent to 130.44 billion yuan.

Eighteen PC makers yesterday released over 100 models of computers to the consumer market, and 30,000 salespeople from Microsoft and PC makers will promote the products in over 2,000 cities and counties in China.

The aggressive push from Microsoft and computer vendors should see half the computers sold to consumers this year installed with Windows Vista, with a slower rate in the corporate market.

According to US research firm IDC, every dollar Microsoft gets from sales of Windows Vista will bring US$18 to the industry, raising the margins of computer makers, software developers and other vendors.

While computer makers are enthusiastic about the Windows Vista launch, consumers should be cautious about software issues especially if they use software from local developers.

Windows Vista's advanced and sophisticated nature means thousands of smaller software vendors will need to adapt to its platform. The lack of supporting software, especially in China, has been a thorn in the side of many trial software users in recent months.

Microsoft's grip on major PC vendors in China may again raise concern about an alleged monopoly on the PC market.

Some major computer makers have already adopted 70 percent of Microsoft's operating systems a significant share, and enough to pose a threat to competitors.

(China Daily January 31, 2007)

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