Microsoft Corp."s new Windows 7 operating system has fattened the company"s earnings and boosted personal-computer sales at retailers like Best Buy Co. But it hasn"t increased the profits of PC giants Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and others.
While consumers purchased more than 90 million new PCs during the holiday quarter, when Microsoft released Windows 7, up 22% from a year earlier, PC revenue grew at just a single-digit rate, analysts say.
That"s largely because laptop prices posted a record year-over-year drop, falling 23% to an average of $581 last quarter from a year ago, according to market-research firm NPD Group.
PC生产商为Windows 7而欢呼，认为可以借此推出加载新功能的新机型，实现更高的利润率。戴尔副总裁格鲁增去年10月说，Windows 7面世后，PC市场就不会再出现大打价格战的情况。
PC makers had hailed Windows 7 as a way for them to launch feature-laden new machines that they could sell for bigger margins. With Windows 7, said Dell Vice President Alex Gruzen in October, the PC market would no longer be a "race to the bottom" in terms of prices.
But the opposite happened as PC makers ran into tight-fisted consumers and retailers that were selling PCs at deep discounts over the holiday quarter. Since PC prices dropped so quickly, analysts now expect Dell and H-P to announce slimmer PC profit margins when they report quarterly results later this month.
Dell, which tried to resist cutting its prices, has already seen slower sales growth as low-cost competitor Acer Inc. has stepped up. A Dell spokeswoman says the company is focused on profitable growth rather than undercutting rivals to gain market share.
But price declines are now "the trend," says Sumit Agnihotry, a vice president at Acer, the second-biggest PC maker by units behind H-P. "You can"t fight too much against the trend."
In the face of the falling prices, H-P has tried to maintain its profit margins by putting the squeeze on suppliers. An H-P spokeswoman says the company has used its huge size to negotiate lower component prices, allowing it to profit on lower-priced sales.
PC生产商难以借Windows 7的东风提振利润的情况与其他相关公司形成鲜明对比。上周，微软宣布季度收益跃升60%，在很大程度上归功于Windows 7的销售。
The inability of the PC makers to boost profits with Windows 7 stands in stark contrast to the impact on other players. Last week, Microsoft reported a 60% jump in quarterly earnings, largely because of Windows 7 sales.
Meanwhile, Intel Corp., which supplies chips to PC makers, last month reported a 28% jump in revenue and a tenfold increase in profit from a year earlier thanks to strong chip sales.
To counter the falling profits, PC makers have introduced products with new features and entered new businesses. H-P has been heavily marketing touchscreen computers to consumers and has said it plans to introduce a touchscreen "tablet" machine with no keyboard. It is also offering financing to small businesses on PC purchases as low as $1,500.