The latest NPD numbers regarding PC sales seem to confirm the cause of the recent downgrade of Microsoft’s stock. For the month of July, PC sales advanced a mere 4% on the year ago quarter.
In comparison, Mac sales went up 26% in the same timeframe. Earlier today, Microsoft was stuck with a downgrade of its stock from ‘buy’ to ‘hold,’ and was dealt a lowered forecast for the company’s coming fiscal year. The NPD report and the downgrade are linked because Microsoft’s lowered forecasted outlook is tied to slowing PC sales, especially relating to recent poor quarters from HP and Dell.
The NPD data backs up the scenario that the analyst had in mind: that the softness in the PC market could negatively impact Microsoft’s ability to sell copies of its blockbuster software products, Windows and Office.
The Mac data, on the other hand, shows a continuing demand for high-end personal computers, something that HP and Dell should have a hand in, as they have both acquired high-end gaming brands: Dell picked up Alienware, and HP owns Voodoo.
And yet PC sales are stagnant. It appears that the branding prowess of Apple is managing to float its line of computers, even in the face of a slowing economy. Microsoft’s consumer lifeblood starts at the sale of a new PC, and if that begins to fall, the company will certainly suffer from a decline.
Some 400 million PCs are expected to be sold in the coming 12 months. We will continue to track this data as long as it is pertinent to market conditions.