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Worldwide PC Market Outlook Remains Strong

Worldwide PC shipments grew by a healthy 12.6 percent in the first quarter of 2006 � ahead of March projections of 11.8 percent growth. Although PC shipment growth slowed from 15.1 percent in 2004 and 16 percent in 2005, the market continues to exceed expectations and the outlook for 2006 has improved, according to IDC.

As expected, first quarter growth in Western Europe slowed considerably, and growth in other major regions also subsided from last year. In addition, growth in the United States and Western Europe fell by roughly 1 percent more than projected. However, despite these inhibitors, growth in Japan, Asia/Pacific excluding Japan, and the Rest Of World regions all surpassed IDC's March projections by several points and boosted not only first quarter growth, but contributed to a modest improvement in the forecast.

The outlook for shipment growth in 2006 increased to 10.8 percent from a March projection of 10.5 percent. The outlook for 2007 was boosted nearly 1 percent to 11.7 percent and 2008 growth projections also increased slightly. Although growth rates for 2009 and 2010 were reduced slightly, total volumes remain higher than earlier projections because of the higher near-term growth. Total shipment volume is expected to reach 284.5 million in 2008 and 333.7 million in 2010 with a value of $253.9 billion, and $271.1 billion, respectively.

Despite slowing shipment growth and aggressive pricing, the outlook for total PC shipment value is also positive. There are some years where value is expected to decline in more mature regions, particularly for desktops, but the total value of worldwide PC shipments is expected to increase by 3-5 percent annually through the end of the forecast. The shift to Portable PCs is a key factor in value growth. Desktop growth in emerging regions as well as the introduction of dual core processors is also contributing.

"Consumers are becoming an increasingly strong force in both regional and worldwide PC shipments," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice president "The movement towards consumer notebooks, in particular, will help maintain the double digit growth rates that we are predicting for the worldwide PC market through 2008."

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