As we discussed in a previous post, the clock is ticking on Windows 7. The old reliable operating system that provided relief during the Windows 8 debacle will be unsupported after January 14, 2020. You can accept the risk, pay through the nose for Extended Security Updates, or migrate to a new operating system.

Migrating to Windows 10 is the best option because you’ll stay in the Microsoft family, the end-user learning curve will be minimal, and you’ll enjoy a number of security features that Windows 7 is lacking. You may need to upgrade your PCs to ensure that you have enough performance and storage and meet technical requirements, but most new PCs come with Windows 10 pre-installed.

Easy enough, right? Well…

As crazy as it may seem, you may not be able to order new PCs and have them arrive at your office in a week or so. We’re experiencing a shortage of PCs in the U.S. for a couple of reasons.

First, there aren’t enough Intel chips to go around. Not every organization waited until the last minute to upgrade to Windows 10 PCs, cloud providers continue to build infrastructure, and Apple needs Intel’s latest chips for its Mac products. All of these factors have contributed to a spike in chip demand. On top of that, Intel has been struggling to update its manufacturing technology, which has caused a delay in the production of the 10-nanometer silicon used in newer chips. This is expected to affect PC shipments throughout 2019.

Second, the U.S.-China trade war has created uncertainty in the market in terms of both production and pricing. Computer chips are on the list of products that are subject to 25 percent tariffs. This is driving up production costs for U.S. manufacturers, and could put smaller players out of business if they can’t price their products competitively.

Although the U.S. economy remains relatively strong, processor shortages and market volatility are making it difficult for PC manufacturers to conduct business. IDC reports that the 3.7 percent drop in PC sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 was the largest drop since the third quarter of 2016. This dip in sales is not because people don’t want PCs.

Industry analysts say that the trade war could have far-reaching effects on the IT industry. The folks at Intel believe the new tariffs will delay the launch of 5G networks. Tariffs could also create higher costs for cloud operators, leading to more expensive cloud services. Some experts fear that the current political climate will make it difficult to bring in top talent from certain parts of the world, putting a damper on innovation.

In the short term, organizations planning to upgrade to Windows 10 PCs need to account for potential delays in order fulfillment caused by Intel chip shortages and bickering between the U.S. and China. SSD can help you figure out how many PCs you’ll need, the features required to support your business goals, and how long it will take for your new PCs to arrive. Let us work with you to develop a realistic plan for upgrading your operating system and PCs as seamlessly as possible.