Analyst: Windows 7 Could Provide Apple an Opportunity to Gain Traction

Microsoft's release of Windows 7 last week could provide Apple an opportunity to gain additional traction, according to the reasoning of Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes. In a research note obtained by The Mac Observer, Mr. Reitzes said that the need for a clean install for the new OS is likely to cause many Windows users to wait until they buy a new system, which could work to Apple's benefit.

"Our checks in retail indicate that there was not a lot of pent up consumer demand for PCs preloaded with Microsoft 7 as consumers were given 'free upgrades' for PCs purchased since this summer," Mr. Reitzes wrote. " In addition, as users of XP may require a clean install for Windows 7, we believe many will just wait until they need a new system to upgrade which could provide Apple an opportunity to gain additional traction."

Mr. Reitzes also estimated that Apple would see 22% year-over-year unit growth during the December quarter (Apple's 1st fiscal quarter), for sales of 3.07 million Macs, which would be a record. Apple set the current record of 3.05 million Macs during the September quarter, which it reported last week.

The analyst reiterated his "Overweight" rating for the stock, which means he expects it to outperform the PC sector, and maintained his price target of US$235 per share.

Shares in Apple lost ground Tuesday, closing at $197.37, a loss of 5.11 (-2.52%), on moderately strong volume of 26.9 million shares trading hands.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.