Microsoft Corp's Windows 95 operating system is not gaining adherents as fast as previously predicted due to the continued success of older versions of the Windows 3.1 system, the market research firm Dataquest said.
Dataquest said it had cut its forecast for the Windows 95 system considerably, and now forecasts that about 45.7 million units of the system will have shipped by the end of 1996, down 27 percent from predictions made earlier this year.
The market research group said the lower growth estimates for Windows 95 stem from corporate hesitation about moving to the new system, a complicated transition involving the ungrade of both hardware and software on up to thousands of PCs.
"Large and medium-size companies are driving the continuing strong demand for Windows 3.1x," said Chris Le Tocq, Dataquest's principal software analyst.
"Information Systems managers' initial aggressive upgrade plans have become a deferred 32-bit decision, driven by high expectations for Windows NT 4.0 and an assessment that Windows 95 is an interim desktop solution, a stepping-stone to Windows NT."
Earlier this year, Dataquest had forecast that Windows 3.1x shipments would shrink to 9.5 million units in 1996, but because of the demand for the operating system in the first half of this year, the research firm said it now expects shipments to only fall to 20.9 million units this year.
Although Dataquest reduced its forecast for Windows 95 this year, it estimated the system will outpace shipments of all other operating systems this year, including Windows 3.1.
It said it expected shipments of 45.7 million copies of Windows 95 in 1996 compared to 18.5 million in 1995, its first year of introduction.
Windows 3.1 shipments of 20.9 million in 1996 compare to the 39.6 million estimated to have shipped in 1995.
Apple Computer Inc's alternative computer operating system, the Macintosh, is expected to ship 5.4 million units this year, up from 4.8 million in 1995.
Shipments of the latest versions of Microsoft's now 15-year-old Disk Operating System (DOS), sold separately from Windows, are expected to fall to 2.0 million this year from 4.2 million in 1995.
International Business Machines Corp's OS/2 operating system is expected to ship 1.9 million copies this year, up from 1.7 million in 1995.
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