January 15, 2009, 6:25 PM — According to a Channel Insider report, company PC refresh cycles are approaching five years, which is bad news indeed for those who make (or try to make) money manufacturing or reselling computer hardware. Already a low-margin business, the recession-stoked statistics may change the game. In the past, the refresh rate has been at about three years, and the report suggests that five years may well become the "new normal" for PC cycles.
A big factor that may trigger a major refresh industry-wide is the release of Windows 7, since many have been holding onto XP in anticipation of this release. For many, the upgrade to Windows 7 will also mean a hardware upgrade. But this will be more of an anomaly than anything else. Companies are still holding tight onto their corporate wallets, and all of the think tanks are reporting predictions of decreasing sales in computer hardware over the next five years.
Will corporations hang onto their PCs for five years? What it comes down to is a battle between the IT guys, who want the new stuff as soon as it comes out, and the corner office guys who write the checks; and usually when that's the case, the guys in the corner offices usually win.