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Windows 8 Will Barely Revive PC Market In 2013: Analyst

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Will Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) launch of Windows 8 help to revive the struggling PC industry?

Yes, according to Sterne Agee tech analyst Shaw Wu, however, the industry's 2013 recovery may be weaker than people expect as a result of continued cannibalization from Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and Google (GOOG - Get Report)-powered devices and a generally lukewarm initial response to Windows 8, Microsoft's multi-year operating system, phone and tablet launch.

According to Sterne Agee's analysis, the PC industry may only grow 2% in 2012, far below estimates of near double digit growth put out by market research firms.

"Many market research firms anticipate the PC market to show re-accelerated growth in 2013 due to Windows 8. While we agree that Windows 8 will help, we do not believe the uptake and adoption will be as big and fast as many forecast," writes Wu, in the Monday note to clients.

"We see a continued shift towards mobile devices being powered by iOS and Android. In addition, we find most Windows 8 hardware overpriced with no clear benefit in switching from iOS or Android," the analyst adds.

Wu goes on to cite Windows 8 tablet and laptop prices in the $500 to $1200 range, in contrast with Apple iPad Mini prices as low as $329 and Google Android tablet devices at an even lower $99, at their cheapest.

In 2012, the PC industry is forecast to fall roughly 8.6%, according to an October analysis presented by market research firm IDC. Sterne Agee's Wu highlights the near double-digit 2012 decline as reason he expects the industry to grow at all in 2013.

"The reason we anticipate slight growth is because of [easy comparisons vs. 2012]," writes Wu, in an analysis that also cites low inventory, PC market share gains by Lenovo and Apple, and some growth in Windows 7, given its familiarity.

"[We] anticipate emerging markets like the BRIC countries to show some growth due to still low PC penetration rates offset by declines in more mature markets like the U.S. and Western Europe," writes Wu of regional growth distributions, while also highlighting the expectation of continued desktop PC declines and slight growth in laptops and netbooks.

Wu holds a "Buy" rating for Apple and "Neutral" ratings for PC makers Dell (DELL) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ - Get Report).

In a Monday note to clients, Credit Suisse analysts lowered their earnings outlook for Dell (DELL), citing weak PC and server market dynamics and declines in its services business. Overall, Credit Suisse forecasts Dell's revenue will decline 8% in 2013 and 2% the following year.

Tech giants are meeting in Las Vegas this week to unveil new products at the Consumer Electronics Show, which got underway on Monday,

TheStreet will be live-blogging CES, starting at 9:30 a.m. EST.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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