In a sign that computer buyers might be holding off purchases until they can get their hands on Microsoft's new operating system early next year, computer shipments took a huge dive in October, reaching a low not seen in the 15 years the government has tracked the category.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported today on orders and shipments of durable goods in October. Overall, shipments were up 0.6 percent to $210 billion.
Shipments of computers and related products stood at $4.72 billion in October, down 24.9 percent from September and 28.6 percent from October 2005, when shipments stood at $6.6 billion.
Technology industry analysts have forecast that the delay of consumer availability of Windows Vista past the holiday shopping season could cost the rest of the industry billions in lost holiday sales.
Microsoft and computer manufacturers have tried to spur people to buy computers with coupons for free or discounted upgrades to Windows Vista. The coupon program started in late October.
Microsoft is making Vista available to business customers Thursday.