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.
Rick, Peter: Are you both Mac guys? I ask because I found XP to be very stable and Win 7 was an effortless upgrade. I know the press has given Windows 8 a hard time, but I found it incredibly intuitive when I tried it on a tablet. I realize I'm playing the devil's advocate here, but perhaps the media has scared off many would-be buyers. Just sayin...
@Patk0317- right, and that's a really good point. You can get by doing basic stuff on your phone or tablet, but when it comes to really intensive applications, the kind of stuff people used to (and still do) use workstations for, I don't think either one of those devices are going to cut it. That said, there are really not that many people using design tools, or doing things like professional video editing where you need all of that performance and memory.
To KB's point, I've actually thought for a long time that eventually your phone will be your PC, and you will have something like a docking station with a monitor and a keyboard for when you are doing things like work processing, etc. It's only a matter of time before a smartphone has the processing power required. Some already do.
Another factor is that with so many choices, people are not updating their laptops at the same rate they did a few years ago - there has been no real advantage. I have a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. Of the three, I use the phone the most, but when I have to use an application like a design tool, it has to be on the laptop. These tools do not run on tablets or phones in most cases.
Thanks on both counts, KB. My sense talking to peers is that people who used to fear Wintel at the turn of the century today wonder why Apple is charging so much for phones built by people who are paid so little. With technology changing as fast as it does, they may be worried more about Google next, or something else. But I suspect you and I will both be surprised what the dominant worry is a decade from now. And, yes, it's nice to have choices.
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.