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Sales of Media Center PC’s are rocketing in the US. In Australia the market is in decline with white box distributors reporting poor sales.

Sales of Media Center PCs have skyrocketed in the USA since July 2005. This is a far cry from where the Australian market is at with both distributors and resellers reporting declining sales. Many blame the sales decline on a combination of a lack of marketing by Microsoft and the lack of an Electronic Program Guide similar to what can be found in a US version

In addition Australian Media Centers are selling for an average price of around $2,500. In the US the average price is $1,200. Kevin Hartin, National Sales Manager & Maestro Product Manager for Altech Computers “Sales of the Media Centre PC dropped off dramatically in Q1 2005.  Apart from the available features of MCE, there was significant market confusion, particularly with relation to integration to Pay TV services, as well as the hype surrounding the forthcoming release of the Foxtel IQ”

 Raymond Vardanega Marketing Director of Acer said “Sales of Media Center PC’s are not doing well people are not rushing out to buy them”. Victor Tan Managing Director of Westan said “Microsoft need to do more marketing as sales are not strong”. A Harvey Norman franchisee said “Media Center PC sales are not crash hot. We are selling more notebooks than Media Centers”. The US sales figures are based on data from a sampling of US retailers, according to a recent study by Current Analysis. For the week ending August 20, 2005, Media Center PCs accounted for 42.60% of all desktop personal computers sold in the US retail market, up from 16.28% for the week ending July 2, 2005.

 Accounting for this phenomenon was a decline in pricing for Media Center systems, with the average price dropping below US$900 for the first time ever. In addition to the more affordable price points, Microsoft has led the charge to promote Media Center PCs at select retailers in an attempt to generate a higher level of interest in the platform.

Matt Sargent, senior director of Current Analysis, stated that the desktop market is in dire need of anything that will differentiate it from laptops, which have been stealing sales over the last year. Media Center, with its focus on performance-centric tasks, such as manipulating pictures, video and audio content, is one key differentiator. The continued success of the desktop form factor is reliant upon the success of Media Center and is the reason we are seeing leading manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard (HP) rapidly shift their desktop offerings to Media Center, Sargent explained.

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