May 23, 2007 12:51 PM PDT

Is Vista helping boost PC sales?

Speaking to a crowd of hardware engineers last week, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates trumpeted the fact that the company has sold 40 million copies of Vista since the operating system hit the market.

But does that milestone mean the operating system is causing more PCs to be sold?

It's a natural question to ask, but a difficult one to answer. One reason it's hard to suss out Vista's impact on PC sales is that consumers don't really decide whether they prefer a new operating system. When Microsoft releases a new operating system, it becomes the default on nearly all machines sold at retail stores. So if consumers want a new PC, they basically get Vista.

That makes it tough to gauge whether Microsoft's latest creation is actually spurring people to buy new PCs. Market researcher In-Stat issued a report Wednesday saying Vista is not having a major impact on the PC market. The firm said some people delayed purchases last year to wait for the new operating system, a move that added some sales to this year, but that the software is not leading others to speed up their new PC purchases.

"My view is that, as a motivating factor to go buy a PC, Vista is not enough," said Ian Lao, the In-Stat analyst who wrote the new report.

"There are certainly things you can do with Vista. The computer makers certainly have not pushed the envelope on any of those things quite yet."

--Stephen Baker, analyst, NPD

But there hasn't been a groundswell of grumbling over the new operating system either. "It's not the scenario like (new) Coke and Coke Classic," Lao said. "There isn't a big revolt going on."

Dell did see enough demand for XP that it has brought back the older operating system as an option on some consumer machines. Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others still offer XP for small- and medium-business customers as well.

As for the PC market as a whole, Lao said it's shaping up largely as expected, something he said he foresees continuing.

"I see the rest of the year panning out, for the most part as it would have originally," he said. Consumers "will purchase a PC if they were already planning to."

NPD Techworld analyst Stephen Baker said that the market has shifted somewhat during the early part of this year. While the trend toward notebook computers has continued, desktop sales and pricing have finally stabilized some, although Baker said he doesn't attribute either those changes or overall consumer sales patterns to Vista's release.

"That would require you to believe that on the consumer side, people actually buy their PC based on what operating system is inside, and I really don't believe that is the case," Baker said.

Microsoft, for its part, says Vista has helped the overall PC market as well as the company's own business, noting that the operating system was a key part of its strong quarterly earnings report and contributed to a PC market that grew 10.9 percent worldwide in the first quarter, according to IDC.

"Though it's very early in the product lifecycle, we're pleased with the market response to date for Windows Vista," Microsoft said in an e-mailed statement. "We're looking forward to continued growth and broad adoption of Windows Vista around the world."

The corporate factor
An influential factor in the PC market is businesses upgrading their machines, and there has been little indication that corporations are buying large numbers of PCs as part of a rush to Vista. Microsoft has maintained that the corporate move to Vista will outpace prior transitions, most notably when it claimed in September that business adoption of Vista in its first 12 months would be twice that of Windows XP.

An HP representative said Wednesday that the company is starting to see increased interest from some corporate customers in Vista, perhaps a sign that some businesses have completed the testing needed to qualify the new operating system. "There is now growing evidence that transitions are under way in large corporate accounts," the HP representative said.

But others are predicting a far slower pace of Vista adoption, looking to next year as the time when most businesses will start to consider buying Vista. Even in the PC business, some of Microsoft's closest partners, notably chipmaker Intel, have yet to push Vista out to their own employees.

Lao said many businesses upgraded large numbers of PCs in 2005 and 2006, making them unlikely to move to Vista this year or even next year.

"I'm seeing this more like a 2009, 2010 thing, where corporations will start to make wholesale conversions," Lao said.

Another reason Vista may not be having much of an impact on PC sales is a lack of software and hardware targeted specifically for the new system.

While Microsoft has put a lot of effort into ensuring compatibility with existing software, it will take time before there are any killer apps specific to Vista. While some of Vista's benefits, such as built-in desktop search, are available out of the box, many of its advances, such as its new presentation engine or its peer-to-peer sharing technology, really only come alive once developers write programs that take advantage of those features.

On the hardware side, there have been a few showcase Vista-optimized PCs, most notably HP's TouchSmart all-in-one and a sleek, white Toshiba Portege with a secondary "SideShow" display. But many of the computers on the market largely resemble their XP predecessors both inside and out.

"There are certainly things you can do with Vista," Baker said. "The computer makers certainly have not pushed the envelope on any of those things quite yet."

Some additional PCs that harness Vista features are expected in the second half of this year, as computer makers gear up for the back-to-school and holiday buying seasons.

"We're going to see new industrial designs from almost all the major computer makers," said Samir Bhavnani, research director at Current Analysis West. "I think you are going to see Vista spur growth in the back half of this year."

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yes, it is
Apple is selling a lot more machines since Vista came out.....
Posted by shane--2008 (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I am in agreement with you... normally I would be annoyed by this typical Mac fanboy response, but Vista is horrible. This is why I am still ordering machines with XP installed on them because HP and Dell wised up.

I don't necessarily blame Microsoft for this... software vendors had PLENTY of time to have updates/patches/drivers etc out by the time Vista was released. I mean honestly, delay after delay after delay plus the many many months of the beta being out, there really was no excuse for software to not be ready.
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Link Flag
Mac Worldwide Market Share Skyrockets to 2%!
>Apple is selling a lot more machines since Vista came out.....<

With a USA market share of 5%, and a worldwide market share of 2%, the Mac is certainly no threat to Vista.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
possibly....but 40million copies of Vista is probably more than ALL macs in use today.

MS almost had more profit reported at the end the March quarter than Apple had total sales. Just look up the facts....then throw out your opinion.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
No, it is not.
False: when Vista came out, Macs had 6.38% market share; today they have 6.21% (<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>).
Sorry to burst your bubble (not).
Can't you sad Apple fanboys come up with a decent excuse anymore?
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
Vista Disappointing
I have just got a new computer running windows vista and I was curious to see if this was going to be the OS that made up for all the previous ones. Well I'm sad to say it has been considerably less reliable than XP was. Crashing is still a consistent feature of the latest Microsoft OS, the file system also seems to break down from time to time. I understand it is very hard for them to make those things reliable but the thing that really gets me is the most commonly used interfaces are clunky and awkward to use, namely the programs menu and the new file browser, did they skip user testing?? There was one breath of fresh air however, I had to login to use the computer. Thats a totally brilliant idea and I hope the engineer who thought that one up was given a promotion.

I think its a bit sad that Bill rates his success based on the number of sales and how much money he makes, especially considering he has a monopoly and can't really lose that race. I think the world would be a much better place if he could put the same effort into the quality of his products.
Posted by qto3 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
money is the standard measure of success
If you're in business, success IS measured by profitability. MS has never put out a quality product initially. They don't give a s... because they know they can make money anyway and charge additional dollars while putting out fixes. Most of us would be fine running XP and Office 2000 or 2003 or other older software. There really is no compelling reason to upgrade to the latest versions - it's that we get suckered in by the hype and the need for for more revenues by all these companies, including CNET. Remember, none of these guys make money if nobody upgrades.
Posted by oxtail01 (308 comments )
Link Flag
I always wonder
*** are people doing to cause...."Crashing is still a consistent feature of the latest Microsoft OS"???????

Windows done right has been just as crash free since Windows 2000 SP3. XP is rock solid and so is Vista.

Do you self a favor when you by a new PC with Vista....FORMAT it and re-install Vista to kill off all of that bloated trail-ware that Dell, HP, Toshib, Acer, Gateway and others get paid to load. When your system tray is full of JUNK you system is not going to run well.

Like Symantec really wants Vista to run well after all of the smack they have talked because Vista might wake people up to the fact that software from Symantec.....just might not be needed.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Optimize your system
I have been running Vista continuously without a crash since mid February. There are simple tweaks to keep it running smoothly and as far as :

"I had to login to use the computer. Thats a totally brilliant idea"
Why would you ever have to login to your personal computer. You can automatically login just as you did with XP.
Posted by TucsonAlexAZ (53 comments )
Link Flag
Avoiding Vista
I purchased a new system last fall just so I could avoid Vista for a few years.
Posted by banegool (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
40 Million - 10 Million downgrades
Almost every friend I have that bought a new pc with vista after a couple of months downgraded to windows xp, in my company every computer that comes with vista gets a downgrade immedatly.
Posted by yuval08 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
... every friend or family member that I have that bought a new PC with Vista... LOVES IT!!

Does that disprove your statement and prove mine? No. Does it prove that, hey, maybe whether you like or dislike something is a matter of opinion? Yeah, it kinda does.

As far as "company"... we've purchased several Vista Business PCs at my company and not only do those users like them, but people that see and hear about a few of the new features, can't wait to get a PC with Vista.

Yes, yes, yes, I know what the retort will be "Yeah, they say they can't wait, but we'll just see how they feel when they do get Vista and it is HORRIBLE just like I said". Well, as I said "like" and "dislike" are matters of opinion and should be stated more as such.
Posted by kmomrik (44 comments )
Link Flag
Look forward to using Vista...
I look forward to using Vista, when it comes preinstalled on my next computer.

I hope to retire my current 2002 computer around Christmas time.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista just a bad product
In the experience I've had, those with Vista and very little computer knowledge didn't like it because it was clunky. Those with an IT background I've talked to hate it because its just unreliable and more of a PITA than its worth.

A lot of companies can't upgrade, and even once they can, they don't intend to. Even small computer stores are avoiding using Vista, as well as many consulting groups that I know.

Heck, the biggest M$ fan boy I know and the owner of a local consulting group hasn't even considered Vista as a feasible product.
Posted by limefan913 (129 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista is not for me...
I've bought three new PC computers in past month purely out of necessity. I have, however, in each case I got rid of Vista. I am annoyed that I can't buy systems without it. I need all my systems to work all of the time and have little interest is NEW when workable is what is important.
Posted by msharemail (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The facts are
1 Windows is the dominate OS in the world, it is the defualt OS on all computers because of that.

2 People are not forced to buy Windows they can use anything they want, the fact is people like windows, 40 million people just bought it (meaning SOLD if it was returned then they do not count it as a sell.)even though 10 million people downgraded they downgraded to windows XP.

3 if windows was as bad as you guys say it is then no one would be using it, the fact is that all OS's have bugs (yes MAC's too)

4 the number of macs has not incresed much of the years Windows has approximately 90% of the client operating system market. though you mac and linux users keep profisising doom about microsoft and windows it somehow manages to stay on top EVERY TIME. <a class="jive-link-external" href=";940707233;fp;2;fpid;1" target="_newWindow">;940707233;fp;2;fpid;1</a>
Posted by eriky4 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
will we always be under the microsoft cloud?
As much as it seems impossible for anything to dent the microsoft monoploy, my personal opinion is that it wont always be this way. I think that corporates are becoming very aware of things like open document standards, lock in, and being 'owned' by vendors. I think the demand for alternatives to microsoft is very high at the moment. Sure none of those corporates are making any moves away just at the moment but i think the foundations that support microsofts monopoly are being eroded.

I am going to take a punt here and suggest that one day in the future windows will be a linux based operating system.
Posted by qto3 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Time Will Tell
I bought a new HP Desk top last month for my Art Studio which had Vista already installed but getting Vista was not the reason for the purchase. I am happy with XP on my home computer. Time will tell which one is actually better for my needs.

I say Vista is not contributing to a boost in PC sales. The low prices are. $1000 buys you much more in a PC now versus 5 years ago.
Posted by Dahtyelcsw (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Upgrade because of Vista?
Ha! I got my laptop because it still had XP. Vista was just a 'bonus'. The desktop was purchased because the old one was dying after 5 years of service with XP. Not because Vista did anything better. With each new Winds versions I tend to lose a few more legacy applications each time and that just sucks. I don't like spending money just because the Operating system is updated on an application that's not broken under the old operating system.
Posted by Renegade Knight (13748 comments )
Reply Link Flag
push people away to apple
First time in my life I actually think I might move to an mac laptop for myself and my daughter. Won't hurt microsoft any but it's a couple of grand out of HP's pocket since it is usually them whom I support on the laptop and desktop side. I beta tested Vista for 6 months and while I just love office 2007, Vista is a pig, too many versions and brings any year old laptop to it's knees. I am an early adopter with a good income but this is a downgrade from xp for me. I asked the saleperson at the store if he had any laptops left with XP and the look told me he was very tired of that question. Apple must just love Vista. They should send Bill a big check and a hug.
Posted by eagleboy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
you want pig
run Office 2004 on a Intel will be using their dual boot or VM software just to run Office 2007.

Hopefully Office 2008 will be least its Intel native.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Vista promotes "fence sitting"
I don't see how Vista can be promoting computer sales as I believe I am one of millions fence- sitting on this issue while my aging Dell with XP still performs just fine. My computer will be five years old this fall so I suspect I will have to do something before long. So my choices, as I see it, are (1) to ask Dell to give me an XP system on the 210 or (2) switch to Apple.
Posted by Sailor5013 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not really "switching"
An Apple Intel Mac allows you to run any PC OS aside from its own Mac OS X.

Boot Camp allows you to install your choice of either XP or Vista. Parallels allow you to run any version, and multiple versions of Windows, and any other PC OS from OS/2 Warp, to Ubuntu, to Solaris.

The best thing is that YOU can choose which Windows to run, whether it is 98SE, 2000, XP, or Vista. It won't be forced on you when you buy the computer.
Posted by Maccess (610 comments )
Link Flag
"there hasn't been a groundswell of grumbling . . ."
because, IMO, many businesses have been avoiding Vista as long as possible.

Some because of the greatly increased hardware requirements (needed to run the geewhiz features in Vista). And some because the have applications that don't run well, or at all, on Vista.

But Microsoft's delay in delivering a product, and then delivering one that wasn't ready for prime time has made my life a lot easier.

Because in the long, long, wait for Longhorn, most of our applications moved to the browser which broke our requirement to run Windows on most desktops.

And during that time I was asked a lot of questions about why we only ran Macs in the graphics and I.T. departments.

These days about 60% of our executives selected MacBook Pros when they were asked what kind of computer they wanted. The others are waiting until Apple revs the line to get their new Mac laptops.

And they are asking why we don't get Macs instead of PC desktops when it is time to upgrade. I can't think of a single reason why we shouldn't.

Thanks Microsoft.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
60% of your executives....
= .25% of your user population probably. Letting them deviate from the corporate standard is just bad buisness......causing you headaches down the road.

But hey its your time.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
vista is its on nemesis
All the early hype about increased security and loads of additional features in the longhorn development phase lead allot of people to hold off making computer purchases in hopes of the new and improved.
Now if you did there is not allot of real choice as an average consumer when you walk into a retail store. But the flip side now becomes all this amazing fast cheap cheap hardware is slowed back to normal by vista due to the overhead. Add in the fact that now you don't know what accessories and software they currently own already may or may not work. Take for example the existing dsl modem that worked with XP but wouldn't work after 3 hours of tech service with the ISP and Computer manufacturer. Was this Vista's fault? maybe, maybe not but the owner is sure going to blame vista because the problems weren't there prior.
Vista may have initially helped delay computer sales prior which caused the current spike but after that it is overall going to hurt sales down the road based on all the bad experiences. Ultimately the end users will only go grudgingly and you can bet the longer they wait the better. Most people wisely don't want the first model year of a car for allot of the same reasons.
Posted by mssoot (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista helping (or hurting) PC sales
For myself, I am shopping for a media center TV-tuner, TV-out equipped PC and am having to look at old stock or refurb or Dell or custom-built as I am absolutely against buying a Vista-based PC right now and my preferred TV-pc vendor -HP- told me via response to my email that I could NOT get a new model from them with XP Media Center 2005.

A friend recently purchased a new Vista-based PC and learned that his current scanner and his printer--made by the same mfr as the new pc--do have Vista drivers avail and mfr states no plans to create new drivers for the particular scanner and printers my friend has, meaning he lost a good deal of the usability of the devices since only minimal function is supported by work-around generic windows drivers. Additionally, Vista on his new machine is surprisingly sluggish --on his new, 1 gig ram late-model processor-- relative to all my XP computers--even my antique 1 ghz XP file warehouse pc with 512mb ram seems brisker.
Posted by genaris (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
&lt;do have Vista drivers&gt;
Made a typo - I mean "Do NOT have Vista-native drivers"
Posted by genaris (2 comments )
Link Flag
Vista is Microsoft at it's worst
Most everyone I have talked to in the last few months that has bought a new computer with Vista has ended up installing Windows XP because Vista is a royal pain in the. Well, you can guess where that was headed. The ones that didn't just requested Windows XP Pro from the start. Most sited the lack of backwards compatability, the new file system, and the fact that the system asks to many questions causing a real slowdown when you really need to get things done. Vista is really Microsoft at it's worst!
Posted by BCurrent (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who cares about Vista, really.
Honestly, I don't see the big fuss about Vista?

Thanks to my friend's persistence, he managed to convert me to Mac OS X about 12 months ago. Best thing I ever did. I always thought of Mac as some boring old operating system, but now i realise that the vast majority of people who are using Windows, are only doing so because they know no better.

For me, the "WOW" started long ago.

PS. I may consider Vista purely for DX10 - that is, when some decent games are developed based on DX10 actually released.
Posted by Neville Bartos (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who cares about Vista, really.
I like all OS systems and they are all the same to me since I can get them all to do what. That being said, you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned games. It is gaming that drives the computer market more than business applications. This is one of the reasons that the MAC OS has not saturated the market as much as it should have. There is a paucity of really good games on the MAC side vis a vis a huge selection of good games on the PC side. When we see some incredible games coming out that require Windows Vista, then we will see more of a boost in Vista OS and New PC sales. Right now, Vista is superfluous to the extreme.
Posted by sanctus17 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Vista hurting sales...
Having worked with various clients, I think that Vista has hurt sales. Many small businesses use an older version of Quickbooks, which doesn't work with Vista, and more importantly Intuit isn't fixing the issues either. These customers aren't about to replace both the computer and their software. Many are trying to mail order XP machines, waiting for Vista to improve, or in some cases seeing whether their old XP machines can be upgraded/repaired. Any one of these option will involve zero sales of Vista. More importantly since most retailers sell zero XP machines anymore they will get zero sales.

Some of the problem is the fault of hardware and software vendors. It was no big surprise that Vista was coming(It was years behind schedule.) Theoretically this should have been one of the smoothest OS transisitions ever, but the hardware and software vendors were in no big hurry to make sure their products worked with Vista.

I further am sure there is still a lot of demand for XP machines because I know my local Fry's had a huge stack of XP refurbs a few weeks back. Within a week every one was sold. Getting a dual core processor w/2GB of RAM probably didn't hurt either, but the allure of XP and avoiding any issues with Vista were a big factor in the swift sales.
Posted by BigGuns149 (790 comments )
Reply Link Flag
XP Sales = Vista
Much of the 20 Million Vista sales were really XP sales in the fourth quarter of 2006. And through what magic did this happen?

Each license for XP also includes upgrade coupons for Vista, hence these XP licenses are counted as Vista sales.

Even Microsoft admits that a large portion of Vista sales to enterprise are to acquire the downgrade rights to run Windows XP, not Vista.

They don't sell XP anymore, only Vista with downgrade rights, or XP with Vista coupons, both of which count as Vista sales.

So, there you go...creative accounting at its best.
Posted by Maccess (610 comments )
Link Flag
vista system has a high request
vista system has a high request to hardware, so it boost hardware update
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by JosephC4mpbell (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Vista BLOES. Making the switch to a Mac was EASY ;)
I'll NEVER by another Windoze machine :)
Posted by NRecob (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In a big way, no joke, no bias....
I'm a windows user for a long time and one of our internal Vista testers at a major university.
Our students get laptops when they first enroll and last year it was about 80% Windows and 20% Mac. This year it is about 45% Windows and 55% Mac.
No Joke. Vista's woes (ie;battery life on laptops) may be a factor but I really think that Apple is just doing a better job of marketing.

I am going to see what the future holds but since I work for a university that has a volume select agreement I am eligible for Vista Ultimate edition for one home system for about $20 and Office 2007 for about the same.
Even though I have run the compatibility test on my personal desktop and it passed with flying colors I don't know yet whether I am going to go to Vista or whether I am going to just stick with XP until M$ no longer supports it and go with SuSE Enterprise Linux Desktop.
I would go with a Mac but I like to build my own so that's not an option. I am very impressed with Novell's SLED as it's almost like XP on steroids and with WINE or something similar I can still run my apps for XP on Linux.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
Consumers DO care about OS
What makes you think that users don't care about the OS on their
PC? Walk into any Best Buy, Circuit City or CompUSA store and you
will find an endless stream of people grumbling about having to
buy more memory just to get Vista to work at all and others
(including me) talking about how they will avoid upgrading to Vista
for as long as they possibly can. If it weren't for the OEMs being
force fed Vista (MS tried to maximize Vista initially by making XP
unavailable), Vista would be in even bigger trouble than it already
Posted by oncfari (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Time for Reflection
Does Microsoft really want that answer to be yes? The TCO of
Vista seems to be quite steep. But then again, you could always
settle for a watered down version of what they promised
you.<p>I really do not recall Micsrosoft <i>planning</i> to sell
us multiple versions, of this long awaited operating system. I
guess, when they neared completion, there were few, and far
between consumer PCs that could actually run it.</p><p>So
the question <b>has</b> to be asked. Unfortunately, we have
found just how shaky the ground can be, under Vista. That
reality hurts Vistas image, and you can't blame the users. They
were <i>told</i>, by Microsoft, that Vista was ready.
Whatever, we never learn.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista may be boosting PC sales in a negative way.
My feelings and personal observations leads to a possibility that Vista in pushing customers who are planning to buy a new computer soon to rush to buy one while they can still find them with Windows XP. I hear and see more negative reports on Vista than positive and know first hand of a couple of people who have recently bought new computers because they could still get them with XP. I, for one, have bought a new computer with a "free" upgrade to Vista and, after hearing reports on how much development it still needs, I decided not to jump through the hoops and pay the $10 shipping for the upgrade version.
Posted by john3347 (108 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Typo in above post
Meant to say "Vista is pushing customers" rather than "Vista in pushing".

In the early days of PC popularity, there was a buzzword in OS and application circles: "backward compatability". This has unfortunatly been replaced with the un-published buzzword "planned obsolence". This is the foundation of all the problems we are currently discussing.
Posted by john3347 (108 comments )
Link Flag
We will all know the truth soon.
They are called quartley reports and they are required by law if they are on the stock exchange. I believe there will be many hardware companies going out of business and soon the PC will be like a MAC with only one sole hardware company. Now who will that be??? Microsoft??? But I thought they where buddies and friends with all they hardware providers...NOT! What a bunch of mindless fools they are for not seeing the big picture.
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When Xp came out Bill Gates stated, "If you want to guarantee 100% compatability with your hardware, buy a pc with XP already on it." People did this. It's the same with Vista. You want 100% compatability? Buy a pc or laptop with vista already on it. This is what is boosting pc sales somewhat. The rest comes from people buying machines that still have xp on it, but have the necessary hardware requirements to run vista, just in case. What's left is all apple sales and more and more people are buying apple and why not? With a mac now you can be safer with macosx but still run windows and play games, so why not?
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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