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UAE PC market suffers most among Gulf countries.

Dubai: The UAE was the worst performing PC market among the Gulf countries in the third quarter with a fall of 22 per cent due to the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones.

Among the Gulf countries, Bahrain recorded 18 per cent growth, followed by Saudi Arabia with 12 per cent and Kuwait with six per cent but Qatar fell 12 per cent and Oman was flat.

"In first half of this year, vendors were really aggressive in pushing volumes. The market exited the second quarter with high inventory. Even with Gitex Shopper in the third quarter, vendors were really not able to dilute the high inventories piled up from the first half," Fouad R Charakla, research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, told Gulf News.

Vendors were seen shipping a growing volume of notebooks carrying Microsoft's aACAyBing' internet search solution to the region, but despite being aggressively priced at around $300, he said there wasn't much demand for these devices during the quarter.

Narayanan Venkataraman, PC category manager for printing and personal systems at HP Middle East, said that the Bing systems was limited to entry-level PCs costing less than Dh1,000.

He said that people in the UAE are aware of the technology well and they are looking at price versus performance. The price difference between a decent core configuration and the entry-level computers is "not much" and the people are willing to pay a premium for performance machines.

He said the machines which came with Bing skews were Celeron (entry-level) configurations.

"The concept is very good. These machines are good for people who need a basic machine for computing. These machines will create a new addressable market. Most of the applications are becoming cloud-based and nothing is going to be stored locally. It is not going to cannibalise the existing market. Going forward, the Bing skews will come in multiple formats," Venkataraman said.

Desktops recorded a growth of 16 per cent in the third quarter, partially due to the termination of Windows XP support.

In the notebooks space, Charakla said many of the consumers have migrated to tablets and smartphones instead of new laptops.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Dec 17, 2014
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