LONDON – Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, down 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012, according to market research firm International Data Corp. The year-on-year contraction marked the worst decline since IDC began tracking the PC market in 1994 and also marked a fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines, the company said.
The PC industry's attempts to adopt touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by a weak reception for Windows 8, the firm said. Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is putting significant numbers of people off buying personal computers and making them more likely to turn to tablet computers, the firm said.
"At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," said Bob O'Donnell, vice president of clients and displays at IDC, in a statement. "While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI [user interface], removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices."
David Daoud, research director for personal computing at IDC, said the size of the reduction in PC shipments was "surprising and worrisome."
The U.S market fell to 14.2 million PCs in 1Q13, down 12.7 percent year-on-year and down 18.3 percent compared to 4Q12. The quarterly shipment number is the lowest since the first quarter of 2006, IDC said.
Most of the major PC vendors fared dismally. Two exceptions were Lenovo and Apple. In the United States, Lenovo outperformed the market with double digit year-on-year growth compared to the market's double-digit contraction. Shipments in Asia/Pacific declined, however, keeping Lenovo's overall growth flat. Apple fared better than the overall U.S. market, but still saw shipments decline as its own PCs also saw competition from iPad tablet computers.
Good point about every app opening full screen. When I first read about beta version of IE10, that's what the Microsoft blurbs on it were bragging about. The first full screen browser. Why would I want that? So I hesitated.
It wasn't until I read a comment that you might not even notice the difference, with IE10 on a PC, that I downloaded and installed it. Still can't figure out why this nonsense about being a full screen browser. All browsers can be full screen, if you click the full screen icon. Big whoop.
Perhaps most objections on Win8 fall in the same category. They are mostly based on poor advertizing and marketing decisions by Microsoft. Not on the actual product.
Is it really windows 8 that is the cause or was the PC market slowing in any case and people were hoping for miracles. Windows7 to 8 transition is not at all that bad. I remember the past windows launches from windows95 to windows vista and those were god-awful products but people bought them in droves (including myself).
The sad irony is that windows8 with its touch interface is actually quite neat once you get used to it.
I purchased a new laptop computer in November of last year. The computer had all the hardware I was looking for (i7 processor and nVidea graphics) and a great price. I knew it had W8 but I having lived through many iterations of windows, I figured I could adapt.
The interface, as it boots up is awkward, not intuitive, and worst of all screen switching occurred when the touchpad was swiped. I tried for 5 months to adapt and live with the monster. I gave up last week and bought a copy of W7 and installed it. Finally - relief.
It's not just defaulting to non-desktop mode that turns people off, in my opinion. It's the clumsy cartoonish icons and the way you have to grab the top of the window and drag downward to close a program. The OS was evidently designed with a touchscreen in mind but it just doesn't work well with a keyboard and mouse.
We are seeing what is likely inevitable convergence. The goal is the *same* OS running on whatever device you happen to have.
With an ARM build for Win8, MS has an OS that can run on desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.
Apple is moving in that direction, and I would not be surprised to see iOS subsume OS/X and become the only OS on Apple gear.
Linux is moving in that direction, with Android dominating the tablet ans smartphone markets, and a beta X86 port that will run on a desktop.
What gets forgotten is that while one OS may fit all platforms, one UI does not. Having the classic shell as the default for Win8 installs on desktops and laptops would help a great deal.
That said, I think IDG overestimates the negative effect of Win8 on PC sales.
The first issue is that the PC market is mature and largely saturated. Pretty much everyone who can use one has one. There is still a substantial market, but it's upgrades and replacements, not new sales. There simply isn't the *growth* beloved of the financial markets.
The second is that most folks get a new version of Windows when they get a new machine with it preinstalled. Previous upgrade cycles have been driven by hardware upgrades. We are now at a point where the hardware is arguably powerful enough to handle most of what users do, and there's no particular reason to go out and get a bigger, faster machine.
What does Win8 have to offer that is compelling enough to drive updates? What does it offer existing users that is a clear improvement over the Win7 or older machine they use now?
And there's evidence the corporate market has been lengthening upgrade schedules, It used to be a three year life for a system, and now it's more like five.
I think we'd see a decline in PC sales if Win8 *weren't* available, simply because the market is mature and there's less reason to buy. Blaming Win8 for the decline overstates the case.
I bought a Windows 8 desktop back in November, hated it for a week, then figured out you could get Windows 7 by pushing the "Windows" key on the keyboard. Push it again, back to Windows 8. It toggles between Windows 8 and 7 every time you push it. What could be simpler?
For the purists, it's not really Windows 7, just looks and feels like it. But way-way faster. This computer rips, and it cost less than $500. And any program that works on Windows 7 will also work in this mode. Never had a program not load.
But the real reason for declining PC sales is this; the vast majority of people in the world don't need a computer. What do they do? Mostly email, Facebook, Online Banking, Photos, Google, watch movies.
In the future, I foresee the only people with computers will be technical (engineers), students, accountants, and salesmen. Everyone else could easily get by with a Notepad.
And that, I believe is the real reason for declining sales of PC's.
It's very simple: confusing product makes for a confused market.
Someone try to describe in a few words what Windows 8 "IS" and then a few words why I would want it. Good luck. And I bet you get 10 people with 10 different answers.
Marketing 101: never confuse your customer, or you will pay dearly for it.
"Bob" and I share this view. PCs were originally for engineers and hackers and then IBM/MS and Apple made them for 'the rest of us'. Meanwhile your average user never understood or used most of the capabilities of a computer, and got freaked out over superficial UI changes because they didn't understand the guts (a helplessness that both Apple and MS encourage in my view). Now that they can get what they want from a tablet they ditch the computer that they didn't need anyway. As a scientist/engineer I have benefited from being able to buy cheap powerful hardware driven by huge volumes. Hope this lasts!! (And of course I've been using Linux for years so I don't have to put up with MS randomly changing stuff for no good reason).
The Win8 touch interface might be 'quite neat', but there are, as backed up by the sales figures, many PC users who will not move on to a new PC because they do not want to be saddled with what is, in effect, a tablet OS on their PC. That 'neat' touch interface is 'quite useless' for PCs, and that is on top of the poorly laid out menus and navigation that PC users are forced to use.
I really wish MS had hit a home run with Win8, but they didn't because they seem to have taken the lazy route: One OS to fit all platforms, rather than a separate version for each platform.
As a result, their sales for the OS are down, and most PC manufacturers are suffering because of a stupid, and unadmitted, MS tactical blunder.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.