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Windows 8 won't hit IPCs for four years; XP still leads

06 March, 2013

Windows 8, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, will have little impact on the industrial PC (IPC) market for at least three years, according to a new report on the global IPC market by IMS Research, now part of IHS.

Senior IHS analyst Toby Colquhoun expects Windows 8 adoption to follow the pattern set by previous Microsoft operating systems. “Widespread acceptance will take at least four years as IPC suppliers release new compatible products and end-users gain confidence in using the new technology,” he says.

Even now, four years after the release of Windows 7, most IPCs are still being supplied with its predecessor, Windows XP, ready-installed. But IHS expects sales of IPCs equipped with Windows 7 to overtake those with Windows XP in 2014.

“A large number of IPCs continue to be sold with Windows XP,” Colquhoun comments. “The functionality provided by this platform is suitable for a great number of applications, and so there is no urgency for most IPC customers to change operating system.

“That said, in 2013, few industrial PC suppliers will offer Windows XP with their newest products,” he adds. “Most customers adopting the latest IPC technology will choose Windows 7 as it has a familiar user interface and is already proven in other applications.”

IHS also predicts that embedded variants of operating systems will be the fastest-growing segment of IPC OS market over the next few years. In addition, it expects ARM processors to be adopted more widely in future, changing the OS mix – principally to the benefit of the Android and Linux systems.        

Another trend that IHS identifies is for more IPCs to run virtualised environments. These systems will grow at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 16% between 2011 and 2016, compared to a 12% increase in the number of IPCs being shipped over the same period.

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