YEAR IN REVIEW: Rollercoaster ride

The PC market has had its lion's share of ups and downs this year - first it was the corporate shutdown in the wake of Y2K implementation, then it was uncertainty in the lead-up to the GST which led businesses to "hold off" their IT spending. When the dust finally looked like settling, along came the Olympic Games. On the other side, the move by SMEs towards computerisation saw a boom in mass-merchant hardware and software sales during June and July as businesses rushed towards the June 30 GST compliance deadline. In February, IDC predicted 2000 would be the year the SME market came into its own and it was not far short of the mark.

The result is a PC market that is all over the place. Add this year's chronic components shortages and integrators and resellers are no doubt wondering if the next 12 months will be just as tumultuous.

The lack of Intel CPUs has been an ongoing saga which is still impacting the channel. It has allowed big name vendors to snatch some of the lucrative white-box market and consolidate the trend towards branded products. The shortage has made life incredibly difficult for assemblers to source and integrate the right components into their products. As a vendor, Intel hasn't had the best year. The company has been dogged by shortage issues, product recalls and an ongoing debate regarding its dealings with Rambus. But shortages in DVDs, hard drives and memory have made it very hard for smaller companies in the channel.

The death knell of Edge Technology in June not only cast the spotlight on warranty concerns, it dried up yet another distribution channel for white-box components. Add the plummetting value of the Australian dollar and it really has been a year of doom and gloom in the PC market.

On the brighter side, 2000 did bear out the viability of affinity partnerships, such as those between Virtual Communities and IBM, in targeting the mass-merchant market.

PC Solutions highlights 2000

16/2 Motherboard market in a state of confusionCPU shortages and new releases change market parameters3/3 Intel chip placed on holdTechnical problems plague 820 and 840 chipsets3/5 No money in Compaq boxes: PenmanResellers need to embrace value-added services17/5 Intel suffers mother of all shortagesChip giant forced to defend complaints from manufacturers over lack of parts24/5 PC sales on the skidsChannel sales flat as research reveals negative Q1, Q2 growth31/5 Bundle deal kings go publicVirtual Communities target PC novice market14/6 Edge collapsesResellers fend for themselves as Edge Technology succumbs to creditors12/7 AMD chip debate ragesResellers of re-marked CPUs concerned at implication of grey market and parallel importing23/8 SME boom buoys PC salesSmall business sales provide salvation for negative PC growth27/9 Post-GST PC sales plummetAnalysts confirm reported retail PC slump in an uneven market11/10 Edge warranty offer misleadingResellers concerned over warranty bailout exclusions18/10 ASI Solutions extends its PC wingsIntegrator plans NT manufacturing plant and new SA sales office8/11 Currency affects the price of ApplesDollar's continuing decline claims yet another vendor price-list scalp22/11 Hammer falls in PC Auction feverMercury Group stakes claim in PC-only auction market