Analyst: Windows 8 May Not Do Much for Struggling PC Industry

Without question, Microsoft is drumming up substantial hype for this fall’s release of Windows 8 and the full slate of Windows 8-powered smartphones and tablet computers.

But don’t look for the refreshed operating system to do much for sluggish PC sales. As highlighted today in a report from Barron’s, Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes is cutting his 2012 PC unit growth forecast to “flat” from a prior expectation for 3.2% growth.

Reitzes sees PC shipments falling 2.8%, year over year, this quarter, and up just 8.9% from Q2′s level, which would be below the 12.5% quarter-over-quarter growth rate of the last five years, on average. He sees 0.7% growth in Q4.

“From a lower base in July/August, we still believe that PC builds will begin to improve in September meaningfully on a m/m basis into the launch of Windows 8 and new Ultrabooks. However, after some short-term ‘excitement’ we believe the PC market will resume its pattern of deceleration given secular threats from tablets and smartphones, which are cannibalizing traditional PC tasks and creating all new use cases through apps,” Reitzes wrote on Tuesday.

Are you excited enough for the release of Windows 8 that you may take another look at PCs powered by the powerful new operating system? Please weigh in with a thought or comment below.