An anonymous reader writes "With the problems posed by a new Microsoft OS, exploding laptop batteries, and changing technology, PC makers may be feeling this pinch this holiday season. Many consumers who are considering purchasing PC hardware are going to be holding off for next year, according to research analysts." From the article: "According to market researcher IDC, PC shipment growth slowed to 7.9 percent in the third quarter, from double-digit percentage growth in the prior three years. The battery recalls may cut into fourth quarter growth, IDC said. Bank of America on October 31 cut its 2006 PC growth forecast to 9.4 percent from 10 percent. All this suggests that consumers looking for bargain gifts may opt for less-expensive gadgets such as cell phones, digital music players, video phones or noise-cancelling headphones."