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January PC sales slump, despite Microsoft spin

In the PC market, January is not the new December, according to new data from Current Analysis.

When Microsoft announced it was delaying Windows Vista to the first quarter of 2007, one of the reasons that it said the delay wasn't that big of a deal was a supposed new strength in PC purchases during January. "We've also heard that January has emerged as a very significant month from a consumer perspective, almost as a second holiday selling season given the emergence of things like gift cards--both from an OEM new PC and a retail perspective," said Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows Client product management at Microsoft.

But as is the norm, that didn't happen in the U.S. retail market this past January, according to Current Analysis. Unit sales went from 154,296 during the week ending Saturday Dec. 24--the procrastinator's week--to 87,854 the following week. Sales decreased from there to a low of 69,577 during the week ending Jan. 28, but picked up a bit in February before reaching a low, for the quarter thus far, of 68,299 during the week ending March 4.

This is the usual state of affairs in the PC market. The first quarter is traditionally down from the fourth quarter as consumers catch their breath following the holiday shopping season. Chip vendors and component suppliers plan accordingly, and Intel actually expects the current first quarter, which ends this Saturday, to decline more than usual.