HP ProBook 450

HP executives say that the coming demise of Windows XP may do what Windows 8 could not and boost PC sales significantly.

Analysts have blamed Windows 8 for hurting PC sales after users failed to embrace its interface redesign.

IDC, in its most recent quarterly report, said PC shipments fell 14% year-over-year. The shift to mobile and increasing reliance on tablets played a role, but Windows 8 was faulted as well for the historic decline.

At HP's user conference in Las Vegas, Windows 8 is prominent. But what seemed to get HP officials excited, wasn't the upcoming update of Windows 8, but Microsoft's planned end of support next year for Windows XP.

HP was none-too-subtle about it.

At a press conference yesterday, HP officials flashed a slide that said, simply, "Goodbye XP, Hello HP."

"We think this will bring a big opportunity for HP," said Enrique Lore, senior vice president and general manager of HP's business PCs.

Lore was asked whether the demand for XP replacement systems could help sales more than Windows 8. His response was unequivocal: "Yes, significantly more, especially on the commercial side," he said.

Lore said 40% to 50% of business users remain on XP systems.

HP is gearing up for the corporate refresh with new systems, and unveiled new PCs, including all-in-one PCs that put a strong focus on design. Lore said the company wants to produce products that are not only good, but "are cool."

HP, according to IDC, remains the world's largest PC vendor with 15.7% market share, which is down 23.7% from the first quarter a year ago. All the major vendors were down in that quarter, with the exception of Lenovo, which saw no change.