Skip to comments.Five Reasons PC Sales Have Taken a Nose Dive (Bad news for Microsoft, HP and Dell)
Posted on 04/12/2013 6:36:02 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The PC is in trouble. Big trouble, if you believe research firm IDC's new data, which shows that shipments of PCs plunged 14 percent in the first quarter of this year. That's the sharpest decline in sales of personal computers since the firm started tracking the industry in 1994.
Since the numbers have been released, technology experts and pundits have hypothesized about the causes of the ailing personal computer market. IDC, specifically, cited Windows 8, Microsoft's new computer and tablet operating system, as one of the main reasons people turned away from buying computers.
That's certainly a possibility, but one possibility out of a few others. Here are five possibilities of why the PC business is hurting so badly right now. Feel free to let us know in the comments which one you believe is the biggest contributor to the dying PC.
1. The iPad and other tablets are eating into the PC market.
Post-PC world is right. And Steve Jobs might have been right too -- PCs are like trucks, and tablets are like cars. The late Apple CEO said that PCs were like trucks that were used when the U.S. was an agrarian nation and we needed trucks to get around. Then cars took over. "They're still going to be around, they're still going to have a lot of value, but they're going to be used by one out of X people," Jobs said about PCs.
Many argue that tablets, or more specifically the iPad, have started to fulfill the tasks of those truck PCs. The result is that those tablets are eating into what used to be the PC's lunch.
2. Windows 8 is a confusing, unfamiliar and scary place.
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
I don’t suppose it has anything to do with the fact that the economy stinks and folks are tending to hold-on to their money.
I’d like a new car, but the old one still works fine. I’d like a new PC, but the old one . . .
That's the big reason in my opinion, it use to be through most of the 80's, 90's and early 2000's that when you purchased a cutting edge PC, it was a given that it would obsolete in less than two years. Not so anymore, in fact I know people that purchased PC's in 2005, which are still completely functional and run everything on the market just fine, with the exception of some of really graphic intensive high end games. So unless you are a really high end gamer, there is little reason to upgrade until your computer finally conks out
Well, your reason seems to echo REASON NUMBER 5 in the article:
5. People are just not upgrading that much anymore.
Some have said that people are just not upgrading their computers that much anymore because they are already as fast as they want them to be. Simon Bisson argues in a piece on ZDNet that we are already in an era of “good enough computing.” “Why do you need to buy a new PC when you can get better performance with a software upgrade on your old hardware?” Bisson writes. It’s an interesting argument, but Rubin says that might be all tied back to argument number one: tablets.
“I would say if they are postponing, it is that upgrade dollars are going to other devices like tablets and smartphones. So, really, it is back to reason one,” Rubin said. Post-PC world is right.
But my question is this — wouldn’t that eventually be the same reason for Tablets?
Man! That article is spot on. I just bought an iPad last night with Quick Office as I will be traveling for two weeks and want to be able to communicate as I won’t be staying in motels. Also wary of public WiFi. My previous laptop was a 10-year old heavy Dell clunker so this will replace it when traveling and in the field.
Tablets are really cool, I like the Ipad, but compared to an equally priced laptop, the laptop wins big.
The laptop has 10x the storage, & a much more powerful processor. There are far more ports, & can play DVDs, too. The screen is much bigger.
The Ipad is much lighter, & I like the security of Apple screened software. Ipad software pricing is cheap compared to a PC, but can be cheap & cartoon-ish, especially the games. Touch screen is easier on the carpal tunnel than a mouse.
What to do, what to do?
Microsoft, Apple, and Google all vigorously support virtually everything I oppose, and vigorously oppose virtually everything I support.
I don’t patronize their products. I recommend against them at every turn.
Linux/OpenSource for me, except for “Android” (Google), of course.
If you MUST run windows, run it in a VirtualBox VM for free.
Downloads available from Microsoft for free here ...
No tablets or “smart phones” for me until Ubuntu Touch or Firefox OS are available on them.
I wrote a proxy.pac file and pointed my Firefox to use it all the time.
I also wrote an Expect script to create an encrypted SSh tunnel back to my home network.
This combination allows me to surf the net anywhere without fear of snooping.
“...I know people that purchased PC’s in 2005, which are still completely functional...”
I agree, I purchased my Dell laptop in 2000 with Windows 2000 Professional. It still works fine for my needs. Unfortunately Norton just dropped support for it’s Antivirus for 2006. I am now looking for software to replace it. Any suggestions?
I keep my wife's Sony (Vista) around so I can swap documents back and forth between work and home. My wife uses an iPad and I have a Macbook Pro. We both have iPhones. Don't plan on doing anything differently for the next couple of years.
But my question is this wouldnt that eventually be the same reason for Tablets?
Well, how long until there is a Linux eyeglass PDA with Oakley or Chanel branding? Probably not more than 3 years from now.
After that, a combo of wrist watch/eyeglass display will provide most people everything they need.
The Japanese have already invented implantable subdermal illuminated touchpads.
E-Paper and OLED displays that are as flexible as paper might allow for tablets that roll up to take up no more room than a bulky pen in volume.
3 axis accelerometers can be built into wrist watch bands, the next step is to build into rings,
Everything I mentioned has already been prototyped or early models already in the marketplace.
I chuckle. If you are not in the software business or a business and only use the internet for shopping or social reasons you don’t need a computer. Any tablet or smart phone will work. However, try and write and debug said items on one of their own kind, you can’t. The average Joe who spends all their time at a coffee shop sharing pictures and status updates doesn’t need a 4 pounds 17 inch screen.
Before tablet and the likes you had to have a computer to do the inane FB thing and stuff, now the market has corrected itself.
The PC isn’t going away it is just being used by those that really need it.
Well said and the next point I was going to make.
Leave it to ABC to not mention the lousy economy as reason #1. When is obama going to give away free computers or did I miss that?
Norton 360 does it all. I’ve used it for 4yrs, and never had a problem.
1. The iPad and other tablets are eating into the PC market.
No argument here. As a recent purchaser and user of an iPad, I do love my new gadget. I can listen to my music, read my emails, post to FR, browse the web, look at pictures on my home NAS, and do it anywhere in the house. All of this on a screen bigger than that of my phone, which is a huge plus.
However, as the article pointed out:
PCs are like trucks, and tablets are like cars.
Trucks still serve a purpose! I can't play Battlefield, EVE, WoW, Sim City, or any of my Steam games on my tablet, nor would I want to. The one game I purchased, Minecraft PE, is cumbersome and not enjoyable to play on my tablet, let alone my phone. I still go to my custom built, liquid cooled gaming PC with 32 inch monitor to do all of that!
2. Windows 8 is a confusing, unfamiliar and scary place.
Again, no arguments here. Microsoft seriously screwed the pooch on Win8. By some accounts, it's even worse than Vista. At least Vista's interface was moderately familiar. Win8 with its tile system is cumbersome and unfamiliar. Having worked in IT for almost 20 years, I can tell you that the number one complaint from the overwhelming majority of customers seeking tech support concerns interface familiarity. Once you change the littlest thing with the user interface, you force the user to change the way they use their computer, and that's NEVER an easy sell.
Most people I Know are using Windows 7 now and they love it. Microsoft did a good thing with Windows 7, and I believe at some point they may re-brand Windows 8 as a tablet/mobile platform OS and let it die on the vine like they did with Windows CE.
3. Windows 8 hardware is flawed.
At this point in the article, the bias is becoming VERY obvious. Microsoft does not manufacture hardware. They're a software company. The Intel Haswell architecture is just how the chip die is assembled. It has no bearing on the actual functionality of the system overall. Matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Haswell or one of its successors (specifically Broadwell) makes it into the next generation of Apple devices. This writer obviously has no clue about specifics in the hardware industry.
4. Where are the netbooks? PCs are too expensive now.
This is by far the worst section of this article. First he mentions netbooks. Then he refers to PC price points. Finally he gripes about touchscreens.
To make this more concise, one needs to consider touchscreens in general. The touchscreen on your iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device uses different technology than the larger screens on laptops and netbooks. People aren't going to pay the price for a netbook when they're familiar with the Apple or Android experience on a tablet. This all falls back in Microsoft's lap as an insufficient mobile operating system in Win8. This has nothing to do with the hardware overall. Besides, what the Hell do netbooks have to do with PCs?
When you say PC, I think the desktop computer sitting on the floor of my office or the 6 lb. laptop I tote around for work. Netbooks are mini-laptops. They're a jump between laptop and tablet. There's not enough of a market for that level of difference. People are either satisfied with the size and power of a tablet or they go for the larger platform for office automation, gaming, multi-tasking, etc.
5. People are just not upgrading that much anymore.
I wholeheartedly agree with this, but not for the reasons stated in the article. My 3 year old Intel i7 930 quad-core processor, 12 GB of RAM, liquid-cooled dual-SLI nVidia GTX460s, and SSDs do everything I could possibly want when it comes to gaming. There's little reason for me to upgrade to newer components. Thus the crux: while Moore's Law is still applicable for component manufacturing, it is not applicable to the software development lifecycle.
Unless you are using your home PC for VMware Workstation, running multiple desktop OSes from the same piece of hardware, running a multi-use server, or developing the next generation of 3D multiplayer video games, there's very little software on the market that can utilize the full spectrum of resources on a newer PC.
High-end video games like Battlefield, Crysis, Medal of Honor, etc. only get up to about 3 GB of RAM and two to four cores of processor at 90%-99% utilization. The graphics engines are doing a bulk of the heavy lifting.
So unless you're doing constant high-definition audio/video coding/decoding, running full-complement virtual machine labs, or doing some serious multi-tasking, there's little that even your retail consumer-level computer couldn't do that a comparable 2 year old machine can't. No one's developing software to utilize the full spectrum of resources on these new machines.
This doesn't mean that PCs are dead or dying. It means that there's an enormous market of machines out there waiting to be used in a more complete way. It's akin to a frontiersman crossing over the crest of a mountain and staring down into a wide-open valley of fertile land. You can't use it all right away, but it's all there for the taking.
A consistently true syllogism we use in the IT world comes from something we've all said at one point in time, "1 MB of RAM?! We'll NEVER use all of that!" Every new generation of tech nerds realizes, "Wow, how wrong were we?"
Running Windows 8 and I must say they platform is much more solid than Win 7.
Having a traditional start screen is as easy as a couple of mouse clicks.
My software vendor and others like it in my professional all run under Windows, so I cannot run without it if I want vendor support for my software.
Also running and HP all in one with 23’ screen, core 4 processing and 1 TB disk with 8 gb memory. Machine has been reliable and very solid.
I think, as many here do, that the economy has a lot to do with PC sales.
I’ll stay with my fast HP desktops, and possibly a HP laptop, and Win-7 Pro; no tablets, iPads, smartphones etc hardware, and that Win-8 garbage. JMO.
RE: no tablets, iPads, smartphones etc hardware, and that Win-8 garbage. JMO.
I gather you don’t take your work with you...
No, I don’t. I had identical HP desktops at my Farm business and home for 22yrs; now I’m retired, selling the Farm, live in a condo and have the HPs set-up here. I have an old corp 2006 Nokia clamshell phone that’s just a phone; nothing else. I’ve disabled all texting, web etc.
I’m a dinosaur. Heh. Works for my needs.
Good article from ZD Net Regarding Win 8 and PC sales:
DING DING DING winner!
the ecconomy stinks and there is no reason to buy a new box when the old box can be upgraded for a year of additional use. Make that IT person EARN their money. (unlike that extra one who was let go because he was found playing games and facebooking all day)
Win8 is an unworkable POS.
Classic shell allows the platform to work at least, but you still wander into Win8 oblivion much too often.
MS decided it would force customers to assimilate, or else.
The drop in sales is the “or else” in action. That’s what happens when you tell your customers to drop dead. Something is dropping, that’s for sure.
MS, right back at you... read the numbers and figure out why AND FIX IT.
MS needs to offer a WIN8 patch immediately that restores classic interface to WIN8 computers. MS purposely decided that people would have to learn to do without the classic interface that it considers a “crutch”. What MS doesn’t apparently understand is that to most casual users, that “crutch” was/is the face of Windows.
MS: those sales numbers are your New Coke revelation/warning. Either bring back classic Coke and admit you screwed this one up, or go away.
The main reason, the PCs were bought 3 years ago are still “good enough.”
I don’t own a tablet—Can’t justify the expense.
Like my old car and my old computer.
You’re all wrong. People are spending their disposable income on guns and ammo.
We ship any and all Windows 8 systems with Classic Shell up and running. Makes Win 8 more palatable.
IMO MS needs to accept the fact that they’re not going to win the tablet war. They should stick to making Windows and Office for corporations, which is their strong suit. Also if they could try and make an OS that wouldn’t crash and get viruses that would be nice.
If you are retired who really needs portability? I also prefer the security of a hard wired computer connection.
For the few texts I get I can deal with a simple phone.
I research and buy bigger purchases online. Other than that people can pick up the phone and call me or email.
I’m in the market for a tablet and am considering purchasing a Nook. It is much cheaper than an I-pad and it can access the Internet where there is WiFi. Is this a smart move?
Do you simply plan to surf the web and nothing else? (i.e. do word processing, etc.)
I used to upgrade my computer with every new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator that came out. The last version was in 2006. They just canceled the Microsoft Flight project so I have no reason to upgrade.
And those 3 companies know it. That’s why they are big into selling services (networking, support, cloud, etc.) They’ll be fine.
It's mostly for web surfing, e-mail and reading e-books. I'm planning to do some traveling but don't want to lug my laptop around. I would rather have something that fits in a pocket.
PC sales are falling, and it is not the ‘tablet’, either.
There is so much a push by so many other information sources, i.e., The Right Scoop, Weasel Zipper, and to some extent, even America’s Test Kitchen (what a buzzardized website that is), to NOT supply a simple ‘print’ button, or icon, that it is crazy!
It is harder for those of us who are becoming lost in the dust of the race to enslave the nation in social media, i.e., senior citizens who don’t care to sit on their butts, and watch every bloody news video! “just give me the damn thing in print, so I can go about my business, and read this at my choosing!’
To me, a 1st generation geek (univac 1050-II), when i visit my friends’ homes, and look at their collection of Internet Explorer icons all over the screen, for every little thing that they wish to keep tabs on, I cringe, greatly.
Windows 8 does NOT allow such a collection. You have Microsoft’s little boxes, and that’s it. All those IE icons get shoved someplace else. When I tell my friends that, the canned response is “(ch)uck that! I’ll keep this one till i cannot use it anymore, or until I have no more need of it, cause I’m gone.”
I bought a Win7 machine in ‘09. I do NOT use Microsoft Internet Explorer, MS Office, or that damnable buzzard offspring, Outlook. I retired from writing ‘guest columns for the regional paper’, last year. I retired from the workforce in ‘09, seeing what was coming with the Kenyan in office. I have no need for Powerpoint, Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets. I have done my own books in pen and ink since 1970, as I do my own journals. (Sorry, Janet the 2nd, you’ll just have to break into my home to read what I might have written about you.) If I don’t have it right by now, oh well.
As smartphones go, right now I am paying over $125.00 a month through what USED to be a broken monopoly, ATT.
Ain’t got much more room, so I guess I’ll be keeping this laptop till I can’t use it no more, too.
Oh yeah, almost forgot .... Lexmark is going bye-bye next year. Thank you, Lexmark! First, Kodak leaves me with 2 cameras i can’t do anything more with, except collect dust, and now Lexmark. I AM NEVER buying an HP printer, seem how they work so well, with a friend’s WIN7 machine.
I tried it at Staples... it is the WORST windows ever... (and that is from someone who still got Windows XP).
“Win8 is an unworkable POS.”
I have to disagree. I am becoming more of a fan of the tiles thingy as I use it. It is a much smaller difference than goung to a Mac (I have one of those too, and use it for very specific applications only). I am not about to change my pretty new high horsepower win7 machine, but I installed it on my old XP machine and it breathed new life into it. Added an SSD to the old machine and it is now a screamer. It will keep me from buying another PC for some time. BTW, writing this on an iPad.
OMB I was nearly middle aged when PCs hit the scene. I’m not even 60 and they are already obsolete?
I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!
#1: Performance of hand held computers works for the 99% that only surf the web and desktop performance meets all gamers’ and developers’ requirements for now.
Time for the Oama’Puter.
That's me. I could probably manage it on a really beefy laptop (would need at least 20GB of ram), but I just don't see that happening on tablets any time soon. Virtualization is da bomb as far as I'm concerned. I have an entire server rack that essentially fits right on top of my desk.
I’m in the same boat. I have a beefy NAS for storage and a Linux server running ESXi with 11 VMs. No way I could do that with a tablet.
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