Is the love affair with the PC over?

Is the love affair with the PC over?

Summary: The PC market is showing significant signs of contraction thanks to weak demand by consumers and pressure from tablets (in particular, the iPad). Is the love affair with the PC over?

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TOPICS: Hardware
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The PC market is showing significant signs of contraction thanks to weak demand by consumers and pressure from tablets (in particular, the iPad). Is the love affair with the PC over?

The numbers are pretty bad. According to research group Gartner, PC sales saw a year-on-year decline of 1.1%, down from 85.1 million units in the first quarter of 2010 to 84.3 million during the first quarter of 2011.

While worldwide the numbers only fell by 1.1%, in the US the decline is even more dramatic, falling 6.1% year-on-year.

In the US the biggest casualty was Acer, seeing a unit sale decline of 24.9%, and Dell dropping 12.1%. It's not all bad news though, with Toshiba seeing a 10.9% unit sale increase, and Apple a whopping 18.9%.

The picture painted by IDC is just as bleak:

Note: All IDC unit shipments are in thousands.

What's bad for the OEMs is also bad for Microsoft. Fewer PC sales means less revenue from sales of Windows licenses. The economic downturn saw Microsoft learn that it needed to be able to sell Windows licenses separate to new PCs, and I expect that it will put an increasing squeeze on all users to keep up with the latest operating system or miss out. One example of these tricks already in action - That shiny new PC you bought with Vista on it back in September 2009, forget about running IE10 on that when it's out in a year or so. The hardware might not be obsolete, but Microsoft will make sure that the OS feels like it is.

Even keeping up with free software is going to cost you.

Topic: Hardware

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  • The biggest thing is that Win32 is no longer needed, and we are moving to

    mobile for a lot of what we do. If you don't need Win32, Windows is POINTLESS.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

      @DonnieBoy

      Mobile can never replace desktop systems. Hell I'd still rather a laptop than an iPad for school/work. Windows can be mobile too. And the best is yet to come... I'd love to see what kind of laptop devices we can make with ARM.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • I think you will see super thin, notebooks, say 11.5 or 12 inch screens

        running Arm with Android, ChromeOS, or Ubuntu. Ubuntu 11.04 is the real deal!!

        You are absolutely right a lot will still want an attached keyboard. Another form factor that would be cool is say an 11 inch tablet with stand and folding keyboard. Use it either way.
        DonnieBoy
      • Why wait? You can install Ubuntu on MacBook Air right now

        @DonnieBoy
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005

        That may be so, however MS, if they even make an entry into the game, is coming in VERY late. I won't rule them out entirely because if nothing else they definitely are persistent, but they are out of their comfort zone, and they cannot afford any more mistakes.
        Michael Kelly
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005 <br><br>"Mobile can never replace desktop systems."<br><br>And I remember how Gates said 640k was all the memory we will ever need. Didn't your parents tell you to never say never? ;-) And why make such a subjective statement? We all have differing uses for PC's. I don't expect my parents to ever need a powerful PC for photoshop intensive work or to render 3D images. A $500 iPad already replaces a desktop PC for them. Already 28% of users say the iPad is their primary computer. MS should be fearful of this stat, the iPad is only one year old and already 28% is making it their primary PC?<br><br>I take that to mean they're not buying Netbooks with a license copy of Windows, MS Office etc.
        dave95.
      • Cylon's ??? The future road?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005

        <i>"Once a new technology rolls over you, if your're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road."</i> <b>-Stewart Brand-</b>

        For many, mobile devices have already displaced desktop systems.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005 Why does ARM make a difference? I don't think the processor is at all relevant to what the user experiences.
        jeremychappell
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @jeremychappell


        ARM offers the user a lighter (Weight) product. It offers better battery life too.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Bruizer

        <I>"For many, mobile devices have already displaced desktop systems."</I>

        Think business though. Are you really going to replace Betty the Secretary's computer with a tablet? A tablet that offers no central management, support, etc...

        The consumer might have a tablet laying around, but so far, productivity requires more than your finger. And so far to me, many think the iPad is a larger Nintendo DS than a smaller PC.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • @Cyoln: Mobile devices will continue to grow, outpacing traditional PCs

        @Cylon Centurion 0005

        <i>"Think business though..."</i>

        Is that the end all be all of computing? These are the same arguments that the computer tech heads used back in the early 80's/late 70's when they said mainframes and minis were not going to go away anytime in the foreseeable future.

        The truth is, the PC (starting with the Apple II) started displacing mainframe and time sharing setups. By the mid to late 80's, it was game over for the traditional use of the mainframe.

        Did the mainframe go way, however? Mope, they have been re-tasked and I would say the modern data center (a huge business) is where the mainframe went.

        <i>"productivity requires more than your finger.</i>

        Do you type with your elbows, your toes or your tongue? Just curious.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005
        There will always be desktop PCs, but they are, and will continue, in decline, so that's bad news for MS. The typewriter is actually still used in some areas of goverment and legal, but not a good growth business to be in. Used to be that you needed a big iron machine just to do email and internet - the only option. Many people with full PCs don't really need them and won't buy one again - instead moving to an ARM mobile device, most without a windows OS.
        deathjazz
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005 agreed, I love being able to go mobile, but there are times I just want a keyboard and mouse, and since I will never own an ipad because its useless to me and I cant stand anything made by apple, I think I will have a keyboard and mouse for quite some time...
        nickdangerthirdi@...
      • @nickdangerthirdi@...

        You hate everything made by Apple (talk about irrational) but love using a mouse. A device popularized by Apple.
        Bruizer
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @ denisrs
        I was thinking about getting a Macbook Air & trying out Ubuntu on it out of curiosity. How does it run?
        rikasa
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005

        Windows can be mobile like an M1 Abrams tank could be a grocery-getter.
        ConstableOdo
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Bruizer

        Enterprise sales are 80% of Microsoft's business. The consumer market is important for the company, but business sales are much more important. A $600 PC is inexpensive and has plenty of flexibility and power for practically all workers. Can't really say the same for a tablet.
        mstrsfty
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @bruizer yes I cant stand apple products, had an iphone and hated it, had a roommate with a macbook and it was junk too, not sure if you are implying that apple invented the mouse but they didnt, the first mouse was invented in the 1960's apple didnt come along until the 76, and didnt start thinking about the mouse until they ripped it off from xerox in 79, Xerox of course had a useful 3 button mouse while apple limited you to a single button for almost 25 years...
        nickdangerthirdi@...
      • RE: Is the love affair with the PC over?

        @Cylon Centurion 0005 I was thinking about getting a Macbook Air & trying out Ubuntu on it.." Dude, do what I did, get a cheap Windoze PC and jailbreak it with Ubuntu.
        james.vandamme
    • Your posts are pointless, Donnieboy

      @DonnieBoy
      same old song you've been singing for years, and every year you've been wrong.
      MS office outsell Google apps by a massive margin, yet you said that would never happen because "nobody prints anymore", and Win32 - just another pointless statement.
      Will Farrell