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IHL Group Study Reveals POS Operating System Preferences

POS Terminals running Microsoft Windows operating systems increased from 71% of shipments to nearly 76%, taking share away from Linux and other operating systems in 2008 according to a new study by IHL Group
Overall shipments decreased 4.2% in 2008, with only grocers and supercenters/warehouse clubs seeing shipment gains. Other segments, such as table service restaurants and category killers (large specialty hard goods retailers) saw the greatest decrease in shipments in 2008, according to the 2009 North American Retail POS Terminal Study, which is available immediately from IHL.
"In a down year, Microsoft came out as a clear winner, particularly with their embedded operating platforms that are offered at a much lower price point than their traditional offerings," says Greg Buzek, president of IHL Consulting Group, a global research and advisory firm that serves retailers and retail technology vendors. "This aggressive pricing and packaging of the operating platform not only took share from Linux, but also took a heavy toll on other legacy operating systems as retailers sought replacements as part of their PCI DSS compliance initiatives."
PCI DSS impact
According to the study, retailers in all vertical segments are seeing a larger impact due to challenges of PCI DSS compliance, and recent security breaches weigh heavily on their POS purchase decision-making process. Retailers want POS systems that are compliant and offer a platform for growth for new applications. 
Additional findings in IHL's POS market study include:
  • The shipshare of WEPOS and Windows XP Embedded terminals increased from 31% in 2007 to 34% in 2008.
  • Windows Vista was used on 13.7% of all new POS installations in 2008, most notably as PCs used as POS terminals for smaller retailers. 
  • The shipshare of Linux terminals dropped from 10% in 2007 to 9.2% in 2008. The popularity of the operating system in segments that were most affected by the economic downturn (Specialty Stores, Restaurants) played a key role in reducing overall share.
  • Although 2009 will be a more challenging year overall, there are numerous strategic opportunities for new POS terminals as retailers continue to replace systems and upgrade software due to PCI DSS compliance requirements.

IHL's 2009 North American Retail POS Terminal Study reviews the shipments and installed base of POS terminals sold into retailers in North America. The study includes market shipment and installed base figures, market value, situation analysis for 10 retail market segments, overall trends affecting the POS market, and forecasts through 2013. 

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