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2012 may be a flat year for PC shipments, analyst says

Despite the launch of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system and the introduction of ultra-thin Intel-powered ultrabooks, Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes thinks the PC industry will see little or no growth in 2012. Reitzes recently said that he expects PC unit growth to hover around just 0.8%, down from his original forecast of 5.1%. He argued that hard drive shortages “could impact some supply” during the first half of next year and that tablets and smartphones will “continue to cannibalize the PC market — especially as docking options become more robust.” Recent flooding in Thailand affected two major hard drive suppliers, Western Digital and Seagate, causing a hard drive shortage that impacted much of the industry. Reitzes also blames the poor economy for his lowered estimates, and he argued that corporations are less likely to refresh their PCs since unemployment is still high. The analyst’s figures aren’t that far off from other industry predictions. IDC recently said the flooding in Thailand could cause PC shipment growth to fall to between 2.2% and 3.4%, down from the firm’s original forecast of 5.1% growth over 2011.