PC sales to European business customers grew only 0.3 percent in the second quarter of 2000, compared to the same period last year, according to a study by industry research company Dataquest.

According to the report PC sales in the region were 7.6 million units, an increase of 8.9 percent over the previous year. The home segment, in contrast to business buyers, experienced healthy growth of 40 percent.

"It's very difficult to think of a single reason why it's happening," said Dataquest's Howard Seabrook.
"There's some slight geographic weakness ... both the U.K. and Germany have only done so-so performance."

He added that continued brisk growth in markets like Italy and Spain probably represents first-time computerisation, while business buyers in more mature European markets are now weighing up how to upgrade technology.

"I also think there's some post-Y2K effect going on," said Seabrook. "Before (concern about the so-called millennium bug), IT was viewed kind of like the company's plumbing. With all the awareness, it's been heightened to a strategic concern - and now they're saying, let's really look at competitive advantage, not just build more plumbing."

Seabrook further said that companies were taking a wait-and-see attitude toward adoption of Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating system.