Windows 8, media tablets stunt PC microprocessor demand in 2012

Windows 8, media tablets stunt PC microprocessor demand in 2012

Summary: Combined with macroeconomic uncertainty, disappointing demand for Windows 8 devices and media tablets replacing PC cut revenue for PC microprocessors last year, says IDC.


A combination of macroeconomic uncertainty, slower-than-expected adoption of Windows 8 and the trend of media tablets replacing low-end PCs have caused revenue for microprocessors designed for mobile PCs, desktop PCs, and PC servers to shrink last year.

In a statement Wednesday, Shane Rau, vice president for PC and server semiconductor and enabling technologies research at IDC, said revenue for PC microprocessors dropped 2.4 percent in 2012. Economic and technological inhibitors which caused the drop in revenue in last year will likely continue into the first half of the new year, he said.

Commenting on 2012, Rau said: "Macroeconomic uncertainty forced OEM and IT customers to reduce orders and focus on execution, and reduce expectations after the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system in late October. Delays in PC purchases caused by Windows 8 and the encroachment of media tablets on low-end PCs have further cut into PC microprocessor demand growth."

However, revenue for PC microprocessors is expected to bounce back in 2013. IDC said revenue is expected to grow at 1.6 percent to reach US$40.7 billion.

IDC said worldwide PC microprocessor market revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 percent from 2011 to 2016 during which unit shipments will grow at a CAGR of 3.2 percent.

Shipment for PC microprocessors is expect to grow at a rate of 3.2 percent to nearly 384 million units this year, the research firm said. 

Topics: Processors, Emerging Tech, Tablets, Windows 8

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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  • Windows is the relic of a bygone era

    Vinyl records. Cassettes. Windows computers.

    These are things of the past.

    The reason that x86 microprocessor sales are falling is because the world is moving to the ARM processor, eventually for everything. Yet Microsoft has failed in the ARM processor world, with devices such as Windows Phone, Zune, Kin and Surface all becoming flops.

    PC sales (and thus x86 microprocessor sales) are not going to bounce back. Microsoft, the processor manufacturers (eg Intel), and the PC OEMS (eg HP and Dell) are all clinging onto a sinking ship. As revenue plummets, it will become increasingly difficult to fund new x86 processors.

    The falling PC sales is not just going to continue for one year. The PC industry is in permanent decline. Meanwhile, ARM processor manufacturers are raking in the money.
    • Windows ARM

      Windows is available on ARM you idiot.
      • LOL!

        Great response.
      • Re: Windows is available on ARM you idiot.

        It's called "Windows", but it can't run a single one of the existing Windows apps that are the only reason people still buy Windows PCs.

        Microsoft fragmentation in full force..,
    • We still have funny people out there....

      Windows 8 just came know. I love these bloggers, take a piece of news and run with it..Sometimes I think that they don't think!!!!..and who the heck is this lady on CNET??

        ZDNET not bad ;)
    • Your mighty ARM processors are not even 64-bit yet.

      Yeah, of course it saves power than the 64-bit intel processors. Unless you think 4G memory is enough the world simply cannot migrate to your 32-BIT 1990 processors.
      • Re: Your mighty ARM processors are not even 64-bit yet.

        They will be soon. And when they ship, the only platforms that will take full advantage of them out of the starting gate will be called "Linux" and "Android", not "Windows" or "IOS".
    • RE: I am still waiting for the predictions of radio's demise to come true

      Sometimes things actually stick around a basic fact of life that hardly anybody including Microsoft seems to understand. They evolve a bit, become unsexy, uncool, and serve useful purposes. I think Microsoft had such a product in the Windows desktop mouse, keyboard environment. I think if Windows does go the way of the horse and buggy it will be because they bought into the Apple reality distortion field idea about post mouse,desktop computers expressed above and somebody else evolves the traditional idea they have given up on. BUT I DON'T KNOW AND NEITHER DO YOU because it is too early. And by the way vinyl is making a respectable comeback.
    • Why Do "We" Try To Speak For Others

      I have over 75 vinyl records (33rpm) they are all in good condition, as well as the turn table that play them. I also have about half that many cassettes and good equipment to play them. I have 4 Windows based computers and I will bet you any amount, that you can afford, that I can do any thing with my Windows computers that you can do with what ever you consider is your modern up-to-date era computing device. Windows 8 has breathed new life into these "obsolete" or relics of a bygone era. Not as many people are buying many devices of any era at the present with the economy in trouble. But, the economy will improve and so will Windows PC sales, according to the experts. I'll believe them!!
  • Windows 8, media tablets stunt PC microprocessor demand in 2012

    Microsoft Windows 8 sold over 60 million licenses. The demand is there for it. What I haven't seen is the OEMs doing anything to increase their sales.
    • Windows 8, media tablets stunt PC microprocessor demand in 2012

      60 million maybe a big number as far as us market is concerned but taken in relation to international market it is just 10% of the projected market penetration for win8 against the backdrop of over 1 billion current windows user worldwide (excluding pirates). the ubiquity of windows in all facet of computing and media consumption is the main target of m$ to protect its stranglehold on the market. and if they succeed, it will be a boon to the us businesses, from intel to hardware and software manufacturers. and it will put a break on chinese loggerheads ...
  • misunderstanding and distorting the facts

    These facts can be interpreted another way. The release of Win8 has changed the computing topography, 3rd generation microprocessors have about had their run and given the present economic situation everything is at a standstill until Haswell is released and Win8 Pro with the right hardware is released. In a transition point it's not all about winning or loosing but about moving forward or being left behind.
    • Re: The release of Win8 has changed the computing topography

      Is that code for "it doesn't run well on existing hardware"?
  • Something people seems to forget as well

    Newer versions of Windows (7 & 8 mostly) runs faster on the same hardware than the previous version and even an average computer bought three or four years ago is still fast enough for most everybody's needs.

    With that in mind, why would people upgrade? Instead of upgrading their still functional PC they spend their money on some other gadgets, mostly tablets.

    Anyway, that's what I did and see around me, but the PC still has a central place in the home, but the four year old PC still do the job fine.
  • Really?!?!

    Alot of the PCs and tablets that have been announced haven't even been released yet... So making any kind of declarations right now is still premature.. Hell Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 5-6 months ago that still hasn't been released yet..
    • "Really?!?! "

      That is a great observation, IamTiger, and it's too bad that many bloggers (who fancy themselves "tech writers") and "analysts" ignore that very basic fact. Among many facts that regularly get ignored. Microsoft did, at least, announce that the Surface Pro wouldn't be released until the first quarter of 2013. On the other hand, I've been using Windows 8 Pro on both my laptop and a Windows 7 tablet since I upgraded both devices as soon as the upgrade became available in late October and IMHO it's a fantastic os, but it will take time to catch on and I honestly believe it will eventually outsell Windows 7's 750 million installations.