Overseas POS Sales, Linux Potential Growing

POS sales are climbing overseas, and the Microsoft-controlled operating system space is seeing a threat from Linux.

Point-of-sale terminal shipments grew about 8 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa last year compared with a 5 percent annual increase in 2003, according to a new market share study released this week from the IHL Consulting Group.

U.S. POS shipments increased almost twice as much (15 percent) during the same time period, said IHL President Greg Buzek.

Buzek attributed the increases to two factors. First, industry price wars—especially with Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc. lowering prices sharply—have substantially lowered the retailers total cost of ownership (TCO).

Secondly, the retail industry went on a POS buying spree back in 98 and 99, trying to head off potential problems with Y2K and the then-anticipated introduction of the Euro. Those units are starting to get old and need replacement, although many U.S. retailers can milk a POS line for as long as 15 to 20 years.

One negative part of the European POS analysis involves Germany, where POS shipments remain "sluggish thanks to high taxes, a stagnant economy and restrictive shopping hours."

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