PC market to spend ANOTHER year soaked in blood, warns IDC
Downed by tabs, economy and lack of Windows 8 demand
The invasion of tablets, a lack of momentum for Windows 8 and tight household and business budgets will ensure the global PC market bleeds for another year.
According to IDC estimates, as a result of falling demand, shipments into the technology distribution channel will decline in 2013 for the second consecutive year, falling 1.3 per cent year-on-year compared to a drop of 3.7 per cent in 2012 on 2011.
"The PC market is still looking for updated models to gain traction and demonstrate sufficient appeal to drive growth in a very competitive market," said Loren Loverde, a veep at the bean counter.
The industry only has itself to blame: innovation went stale among personal-computer makers as they relied on Microsoft and Intel to spur demand with new operating system and chips, respectively. And PC adoption in the emerging markets - a boon for vendors in the last decade or so - also slowed, according to IDC: those markets declined last year for the first time, and a one per cent rise is forecasted for 2013.
"Growth in emerging regions has slowed considerably, and we continue to see constrained PC demand as buyers favour other devices for their mobility and convenience features," Loverde declared. That said, it is the mature markets that will cause the biggest dent in sales this year: 5.8 million fewer desktops and notebooks are expected to be shipped.
Loverde claimed IDC still does not view tablet computers as "functional competitors" to the classic notebook due to their limited storage and file system access and scant focus on productivity.
"But they are winning consumer dollars with mobility and consumer appeal nevertheless," the IDC veep added. "Market saturation, a tough economic environment and weakness across the board, and lack of momentum for Windows 8, which led to contraction in 2012, are expected to persist at least during the first half of 2013."
A "rubber band effect" that could snap some life back into the market may come about in H2 2013, thanks to industry restructuring, greater channel involvement, businesses refreshing some systems at the end of support for Windows XP and "potentially greater acceptance" of Microsoft's latest OS, the touch-friendly Windows 8.
Last week, HP CEO Meg Whitman told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecoms conference "there's no question that we've got a lot of work to do to get these new form factors and new OSes [to market] as fast as we can". The world's largest PC maker missed the first, second and third boats on tablets and smartphones, and is trying to play catch up quickly by launching the Elite Pad for businesses and a Chromebook for punters.
Whitman said HP is not "incrementally investing" in these two areas but is "shifting resources from PCs to tablets, from one operating system to another, from one kind of chipset to another so we're reallocating where we're putting our people and our energy and resources". ®
How do they not get this?
High res screens at a decent ratio! I want to upgrade my laptop at the moment but when even > £800 will not buy me a laptop that has a vertical resolution better than my 4 year old one it's a no sale!
I'm sure that I'm not alone in being in this situation. If you walk into a retail outlet at the moment, there is really nothing that differentiates the top end machines from the low end to the average buyer to whom price is the most expensive factor.
I find myself in the insane position where I want to spend some money on a laptop but no company can provide a compelling reason to.
Unbelievably it would appear that Apple are the only one's to see this. I really don't want a Mac but may end up buying a 'Retina' ( I hate that term) at their incredibly inflated prices just to be able to have a decent resolution.
Windows 8 is killing their laptop and desktop markets
If consumers still had a choice between Windows 7 and Windows 8, there might be more movement in the market. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't see things that way: it's Windows 8 or the highway.
For corporates, Windows 8 is an answer begging a question. Who wants to carry the can for rolling out an upgrade to an OS that won't allow multiple document windows (the hint's in the name, guys!) on screen at a time? What's the point of those nice, new, high-resolution screens, with only one program showing at a time? Sysadmins would have to install a custom-rolled distribution with the "Metro" features disabled, and incur large expense for little benefit, and a lot of heartache.
Retail consumers view Windows 8 from a different perspective. They're chary of the unknown, aware of the increased hardware cost for Windows 8-compliant systems, and mindful of negative reviews and experiences.
Windows 8 or the highway? There's a big traffic jam, in the direction of tablet makers. By not really understanding their markets, and trying to brute-force them - no change there in 30 years, then - Microsoft appears to have inadvertently engineered the seeds of their own slow destruction. It's a shame: they've only just started to innovate properly, for the first time since forever, but it's too late, and too little, and often in the wrong directions. Apple's Mac line is also waning, but Microsoft-based new PC products are falling off a cliff.
Re: Just wrong. (@AC 18:37)
I think you missed the point. YOU obviously have managed to convince yourself that a tablet is a full desktop replacement but I would feel confident in saying that is not the case for the majority of people that use computers to work with. Yes, the iPad comes with up to 128GB, but what happens when you need more? on my full computer i can simply use a USB thumbdrive or even upgrade the hard disk. I have an iPad and a Nexus 7 but would never consider either the best tool for anything more involved than web browsing or watching iplayer.
In a pinch it is true that most computing tasks can be accomplished on a tablet but my experience doing so has been painful and the apps always appear to be attempting to work around the deficiencies in the system. The article never said that productivity was impossible on a tablet but stated that the focus was elsewhere. Count the number of items in the app store and compare the number of entertainment/games apps to the number of productivity apps and then come back and deny this.
I cannot address the other points in your comment as I stopped reading properly at ''App-centric" which you somehow think is a good thing. Windows 8 is "App-centric" but that is roundly hated it seems.
jabbing at a small screen with sausage fingers on a crippled OS is never going to be better or easier than using a full computer to complete actual work.
You sound like a manager who has had to defend his new shiny toy.
We're seeing stagnation in the Desktop market but, hey, in the Mobile market, where MS does not rule with an iron fist, people are making money left, right and centre.
A huge problem with the desktop is not just that Windows 8 sucks, it's that the cost of the MS licence is large compared to the cost of the hardware itself. The only way OEM's can offset the costs on consumer machines is by installing crapware, which makes for a deeply unpleasant user experience. Now consumers are using Apple and Android mobile kit, they are seeing that computers don't have to suck! The customer is realising that computers without Windows are computers without pain.
So what does an OEM do? They are making money from mobile so their instinct is to take mobile operating systems and extend them to be dekstop operating systems. Hence ChromeOS. Soon it will dawn on them that ChromeOS and Android are Linux. And, hey, Linux Mint is already the best OS out there. It just needs someone who can fight off MS to market it. If Linux Mint was pre-installed on computers and marketed, in the same way that ChromeOS is marketed, then, hey presto - you will have a reinvigorated Desktop market with higher margins. (No OS licence to pay, and cheaper hardware suffices to run Linux FAST).
This actually already happened once, when netbooks first appeared, then MS reacted by strong-arming OEM's to install XP instead.
Re: Just wrong.
How exactly is an "app-centric" view of your OS and computer meant to be modern? That was how computers worked twenty years ago. You would open an application and then go to browse for a file to work with. Then things gradually moved to a data-centric view, where you just concentrated on your files and let the OS launch applications as necessary for working with them. Going back to everything being led by the apps seems a massive step backward to me.