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PC market to enjoy healthy growth, report says

The next two years will bring double-digit growth to the worldwide market for desktops, notebooks and PC servers, Piper Jaffray predicts.

The global PC market will experience double-digit year-over-year growth in 2004 and 2005, according to a report Piper Jaffray released Wednesday.

Growth in worldwide PC sales is likely to reach 15 percent in 2004, with the shipment of 177 million units, the company predicted. In 2005, shipments will grow by 12 percent to 197 million units, the company said. The PC market, as Piper Jaffray defines it, includes desktops, notebooks and PC servers.

The company's hardware analyst, Les Santiago, said the key factors driving the growth are lower prices, the desire of companies to replace aging systems and the recovery of major European economies, like those in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The growing use of desktops in China and India will be yet another driver.

Market research companies IDC and Gartner have also predicted better years ahead for PC makers. IDC has forecast that 172.1 million desktops will ship in 2004, and Gartner has predicted 187 million.

Piper Jaffray sees the desktop market growing by 12 percent year-over-year in 2004 and by 8 percent in 2005.

The company predicts higher growth rates for notebooks and PC servers. Shipments of notebooks are expected to increase by 21 percent in 2004 and by 20 percent in 2005, the company said. Meanwhile, shipments of PC servers will grow by 19 percent year over year in 2004 and by 18 percent in 2005, the company said.

Piper Jaffray said it is expecting U.S. companies to increase their spending on PCs over the next couple of months, as aging machines are replaced with newer, attractively priced models.

A Gartner study last week said nearly 100 million PCs currently in use will be substituted by new ones in 2004. The company predicts that an additional 120 million units will be discarded in 2005.