Goldman Sachs' latest IT spending survey forecasts modest overall growth in the coming year, with pent-up demand for new hardware such as servers and PCs stimulating an increase in Windows 7 upgrades.
Overall, Goldman forecasts an 8 percent decline in global IT spending for 2009, followed by 4 percent growth in 2010. The survey is comprised of 100 IT executives from Fortune 1000 companies.
Spending on software for servers (with VMware and Red Hat ranking highest) as well as virtualisation and SaaS-based applications (with VMware, salesforce.com and Citrix ranking the highest) is predicted to return to normal levels in 2010. But with more than half the survey respondents indicating they will do PC, server and storage refreshes next year, most of the spending will be on hardware, according to the report.
Goldman points to data from research firm IDC stating that 2009 third quarter PC shipments are up 17 percent from the previous quarter and up 2 percent year over year.
The increase in PC upgrades in 2010 are likely due to ageing PCs at the end of their lifecycle. Yet the arrival of Windows 7 also has a significant influence, according to the Goldman Sachs report.
The survey indicates that 94 percent of survey respondents intend to upgrade to Windows 7, with 32 percent planning to do so in 2010 and 28 percent anticipating an upgrade in 2011.
Goldman expects that the remaining 34 percent of Windows 7 upgraders who report the intention to upgrade in 2012 and beyond will lean more toward 2012. Why? Because 85 to 90 percent of respondents are still on Windows XP, and XP support expires in April 2014. "We believe that 2013 becomes a de facto deadline for Windows 7 upgrades," states the survey report.
Another indicator that Windows 7 will drive more IT spending: the percentage of respondents who believe that their spending with Microsoft will increase jumped to 36 percent, compared to 15 percent and 24 percent in the last two surveys, which took place in June and August respectively.
One piece of bad news for Microsoft from the survey: Apple, surprisingly, is the PC maker gaining the most share of IT dollars, followed by Windows-based PC makers HP, Lenovo and Dell.
"Although Apple's presence in the enterprise PC segment remains small," the report states, "the company was a share gainer for the 11th consecutive time in this survey, as companies and employees continue to adopt the Mac platform for corporate use. We think these results are supported by Apple's recent strong September quarter, with Mac sales a key driver."