But in PCs, Windows 7 Is the Spoiler

Cash-strapped consumers have been slow to buy personal computers in the recession. But with the launch of Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) new Windows 7 operating system Thursday, PC makers are aiming to reverse that trend–and then some.

Companies are expecting that Windows 7’s improved features over earlier Microsoft operating systems, including Vista and XP, will lure more consumers into stores. And they are betting that heightened demand will allow them to stanch recent price declines in the market.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), Dell Inc. (DELL), Toshiba America Inc. and Acer Inc., among others, are releasing a flood of high-end laptops with slim cases and glossy designs, and new one-piece touch-screen desktops, that they hope consumers will be willing to pay a premium for.

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