Consumers Will Demand Comprehensive Support Services As Technology Becomes Mission Critical in the Home, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – May 19, 2008 – The expansion of technology in the home has been accompanied by installation and troubleshooting problems that often require specialized knowledge. To help consumers overcome these challenges, IDC believes a new generation of tech support services is rising up that leverages the Internet to provide assistance remotely and directly.

"Technology has become more deeply entwined in consumers' lives while consumer support options have remained limited and often unsatisfying," said Matt Healey, research manager, Software and Hardware Support Services at IDC. "However, we are quickly reaching the point where certain devices and applications are considered 'mission critical' in the home. This means more consumers will require, and be willing to pay for, a higher level of support to ensure smooth operations at home."

To better understand the technology problems that consumers are encountering, IDC analyzed more than 10,000 consumer support sessions captured by support service provider PlumChoice. Key findings from this data include the following:

* PC software and operating system problems were the most common, representing 41% of the support sessions analyzed.

* Security problems, particularly issues associated with viruses, spyware, and malware, were the second most common session type representing 23% of the sessions. Despite the high number of security related sessions, 82% of consumers indicated that they had security software installed. This suggests that consumers are not regularly updating the software to meet new threats.

* Other categories where consumer support is regularly needed include PC performance issues, networking, PC hardware, and peripherals that connect to the PC or network.

"IDC believes the market for consumer support services will continue to expand as better options become available to consumers and as the costs of providing these services continues to decline," added Healey. "The service providers that will succeed in this market will invest in providing remote support services and develop support capabilities that extend beyond the PC."

The study, IDC Technology Enablement Index (Doc #212099), explores the problems that consumers are having with technology and the current state of the technology support market. The consumer technology problems are drawn from an analysis of more than 10,000 consumer support sessions provided by PlumChoice.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts in over 110 countries provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends. For more than 44 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

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