UBS analyst Ben Reitzes sees Microsoftis announcement that Windows Vista is being delayed again as bad news for Dell and a good opportunity for Apple. The continuing setbacks in the next version of Microsoftis operating system are putting PC manufacturers in a tight spot. Dell has been working to improve its position in the consumer market, and will likely see delays of its own while waiting for the consumer version of Vista.
Apple is in a much better position since it will have completed the transition to Intel processors for the Mac product line before the end of the year, eliminating concerns over "holdouts" waiting for the chip transition to complete. Mac OS X 10.5, or Leopard, is due as early as November, giving Apple another opportunity to gain market share.
Mr. Reitzes expects Apple to release Mac OS X 10.5 in time for the holiday buying season. He speculates that Apple will enhance the features in Spotlight, Dashboard, iChat, and Safariis RSS capabilities. He also expects that Leopard will include more features geared towards home digital entertainment and HD formatted content, positioning the Mac as a solid offering to consumers as they head into the holidays.
Previously, analysts were predicting a 10 percent growth in the non-Mac PC market for 2006. Microsoftis delay, however has Mr. Reitzes calling that prediction aggressive. He expects fewer and fewer consumers will buy Windows-based PCs leading up to the eventual release of Vista.
The iPod will likely remain a top gift during the holiday season. The recent addition of Quanta as a video capable iPod supplier should help Apple to meet consumer demand, leading Mr. Reitzes to speculate that concerns over supply issues are overblown.
UBS is maintaining its buy position and target value for Appleis stock at US$100. Apple is currently trading at US$60.93, down 0.74 (1.20%).