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Plunging PC sales could springboard thin client

Plummeting PC sales and uncertainty following the proposed HP/Compaq merger have provided a leg-up for thin-client sales, according to industry pundits.

Paul Wilcox, sales manager of thin-client vendor Wyse Technology, claimed to have recorded a fourfold increase in sales this year.

Wilcox attributes much of this growth to customers looking to alternatives to purchasing PCs that have come to the end of their lease.

"A lot of companies have PCs coming off lease after buying them for Y2K, and they are saying, ‘Didn't we just get these things?' Y2K is still fresh in their minds so they're thinking of thin client," Wilcox told ARN.

He said that a lot of customers have been "spooked" by the HP/Compaq merger and are concerned about the future direction of certain PC lines.

IDC computing hardware analyst Logan Ringland is currently finalising statistics on the thin-client market. His preliminary findings indicate the market is definitely growing, but he warned the industry should not get carried away.

"I don't see the market in Australia being more than 100,000 units per year, so it's easy to show growth of 15-20 per cent," said Ringland.

While Ringland was undecided on whether enterprise consumers were turning away from PCs in favour of thin-client models, he did say there was a strong demand for a managed computing environment, which thin client offers.

"The opportunity is there for the channel," he added.

Meanwhile, Wyse has slashed its prices by up to 30 per cent in Australia and New Zealand to fend off growing pressure from its competitors and maintain its position in the thin-client market. Due to the volumes being sold, Wilcox said it has become cheaper for Wyse to make its Winterm terminals, which also led to the price cut.

Wyse's largest selling ICA-based 1200LE offering has been reduced from a list price of $900 to $599.