updated 06:10 pm EST, Mon January 11, 2010
Computer costs reverse years of decline
The cost of computers may actually go up in the near future if a new Gartner study reflects a current trend. Even though components have dropped in price roughly 7.8 percent in the past decade, prices in 2010 are now actually expected to increase by 2.8 percent. Most of the increase comes on the back of LCD and RAM shortages. The two could see their prices pushed as much as 23 and 20 percent higher by the end of the year, according to the analysts.
Much of the feared spike may come as the result of component builders being overly cautious and either closing factories or scaling back workforces more than needed to survive the slump between late 2008 and early 2009. The switch from DDR2 to DDR3 RAM on computers may likewise have created a problem of its own as many vendors haven't fully switched to DDR3 and often need a significant amount of both types.
Gartner sees the price hikes as beneficial for vendors, which for years haven't had much control over costs. Computer builders themselves face a tougher situation and may have to avoid budget notebooks and netbooks, where even slight changes in memory prices can force price hikes. Those that focus on premium computers like Apple and Sony are less likely to see the results.