While the PC industry has not caught up to McDonalds in sheer volume, it did reach an impressive milestone in April with the shipment of the one billionth PC, according to the research firm Gartner Dataquest.
While it took 25 years to reach this mark, Dataquest, San Jose, Calif., is forecasting for the next billion computers to ship in just the next six years. Martin Reynolds, vice president and research fellow for Gartner, said, the driving force behind reaching this figure will be broadband Internet service in the home tied to the PC becoming home's central appliance used to manage all household communications and entertainment functions.
Reynolds also forecasts additional industry consolidation and lower PC prices. The HP/Compaq merger and Dell will anchor and reshape the industry, he said. Meanwhile, with home penetration peaking in most Western countries, PC vendors will look toward third world countries as their next great source of income. This will require a further drop in pricing, Reynolds said.