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Linux growth strong in $6B North American POS market

Mar 15, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Shipments of PC-based point-of-sale (POS) systems in North America grew five percent in 2005, to nearly $6 billion, market analyst IHL reported Wednesday. Linux-based systems accounted for nine percent of shipments, up from five percent the previous year. Windows-based systems led the market, with a 71 percent share of shipments, IHL reported.

Through 2003, Linux was the fastest-growing POS OS, according to IHL. However, Linux growth was slowed substantially by the November, 2001 release of Windows XP Embedded (XPe), according to the firm.

Windows XP Embedded and WEPOS (Windows Embedded for Point of Service) accounted for 12 percent of 2005 POS OS shipments, IHL says, with other Windows variants, such as Windows CE, 9x, and NT/2000 accounting for Windows's remaining 59 percent share.

Intel Celeron and AMD Sempron processors were the most popular choices in POS hardware, according to IHL.

Additionally, the firm believes that retailers in all vertical segments are looking to purchase POS hardware and software from multiple vendors. “With few exceptions, the dual vendor strategy is being pushed by lower cost hardware options that run on Microsoft Windows operating systems and Linux,” IHL said.

Overall, PC-based POS growth was led by “specialty category killers” — including home centers, electronics, pet superstores, bookstores, sporting goods, and furniture. This segment accounted for 321,000 new terminals in 2005, according to IHL.

IHL President Greg Buzek said, “We are seeing strong interest among grocers in particular. Terminals with lower total cost-of-ownership than previous models and with touch-screen, LCD display interfaces appear to be in demand this year, particularly in grocery and other specialty retail segments.”

IHL defines “POS” systems as “PC-based workstations, namely PC-class processor-based and LAN-available terminals,” and specifically excludes “Electronic Funds Terminals.”

Further details on IHL's “2006 North American Retail POS Terminal Study” are available here.

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