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Windows 10 PC sales boost? Don't hold your breath, say analysts

Good news for privacy lovers, not so much for hardware vendors

Despite this year's release of Windows 10, notebook PC shipments are not going to see an increase over last year.

This according to analysts with ABI Research, who project that shipments will be flat compared to 2014. The entire portable market, which includes Chromebooks, ultraportables (such as the MacBook Air), netbooks, and conventional notebook PCs, is due to ship 165 million units over the course of the year.

Of those four categories, notebook PCs (most of which are Microsoft Windows notebooks) are expected to see an annual decrease of 7 per cent.

This despite Microsoft's release of Windows 10, the first major revision to the Microsoft OS since the 2012 launch of Windows 8. Many had hoped Windows 10 would fix the complaints around Windows 8 and, for ailing PC vendors, spur a wave of users buying new hardware to accompany the latest OS.

Since its launch, however, complaints have risen over the way Windows 10 handles the personal data of users. Reviewers have noted numerous privacy concerns about the amount of information Windows 10 sends back to Microsoft by default.

According to StatCounter, Windows 10 growth has already flattened out.

Not helping matters are the low requirements Microsoft placed for its new OS. Any PC capable of running Windows 8.1 can update to Windows 10 without the need for hardware upgrades. The flat rates could, however, also suggest that those who have been holding onto their Windows 7 machines are not yet convinced that they want to invest in a new PC and make the jump to Windows 10.

One area that will see a boost is Chromebooks. Notebook PCs sporting the web-reliant Google OS will get a 35 per cent rise in shipments over 2014 to a total of 7 million units. Education will be a strong Chromebook market this year, and ABI said it sees markets outside of North America warming up to Chromebooks both in 2015 and the coming five years, when it predicts 22 per cent annual growth rates.

ABI Research also notes that ultraportables, the segment that includes ultra-light notebooks and tablet-notebook convertibles, will see an annual boost. Unfortunately for PC makers, a good share of those sales will go to Apple, whose MacBook Air line remains the top-selling model in the ultra-portable category. ®

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