The MacBook Air exception is noteworthy. I have been advising my friends to think carefully about whether or not they want a Win 8 computer when they replace their old ones. I have two friends that went that way. One of them didn't mind, because she added software to make it practically identical to a Win 7 box. The second one absolutely hates using hers. I am going to take a look at Win 8.1, but I will probably end up putting the same software on hers as well. A very large part of this market implosion is squarely at the feet of Microsoft's heavy-handed forced push of Win 8.
I hope that conditions improve over the next few months, but many are waiting to see how the US handles its response to the Syrian conflict. And many companies are forgoing upgrading their PC's until the reviews on 8.1 come out.
I'm sure you're right, that Microsoft did themselves a huge disservice, by pushing Windows 8 on the basis of its tablet-friendly UI option. A silly mistake, considering that Windows is used so heavily by the PC customer, meaning both small portable types or desktops.
However, everyone I know who uses Win8 on real PCs, and whose opinion on these matters is well informed, tells me that it ain't such a big deal. You don't have to use the tablet UI. What I can't figure out is, how come Microsoft doesn't get it? Is it possible they still haven't revamped their ad campaign, in light of these market realities?
It makes sense to deploy a single OS. It makes no sense to sell it only on the merits of its tablet or phone usage. Start showing us Windows 8 with the PC user interface, for pete's sake.
Odd too is that the ad campaign for Win7 was brilliant. Then Microsoft dozed off.
The question is who do they sell it to? Corporate customers see no reason to update to Win 8. The two friends that I mentioned are certainly not the power users that can navigate around an obstinate UI. They are the users that finally figured out how to get to their email. All that is left for the PC-based Win 8 space is the power users. I used to be in that club (I actually used Vista for quite a while), but anymore I am dividing my time between Linux, Android, and Win 7.
I think the point is, Microsoft has apparently dissuaded PC users from upgrading. Perhaps the handheld push has kept PC applications from pushing the performance boundaries of PCs lately, temporarily anyway, but people do still want or need to update their PCs. I don't think it helps Microsoft, when these potential customers are being shuttled off to Apple or Linux.
The discussion here seems to be Win8 instead of LCD panels. I have a Win8 laptop and it's really not that bad once you figure out how to get to everything. I think the reason LCD panels are down is the same reason smart phones and tablets are up. The casual user has moved on from the laptop. Also, companies are pinching pennies waiting for the coming pain of obamacare.
Linux? Really? ... not even a small dent in the shipment of LCD screens. Not much more than a rounding error.
Obamacare? ... The U.S. may be the largest market, but not the only one. The world is a much bigger place now.
Windows 8? ... yes perhaps, but we also need to consider whether we are approaching an asymptote in PC requirements for most users?
My Core I7 laptop screams along just fine and really how much resolution do you need in 15" Even my 5 year old laptop is doing admirable second service as a browsing/homework machine. The 1920*1200, 24" monitor is doing just fine. More resolution may be nice, but not at all essential. I do have my eyes on a tablet for portability, but for the most part, my needs are covered. I can likely go another 2 years before an upgrade as opposed to the 3 of the last hardware cycle.
Going from a 3 to 4 year upgrade cycle makes for a huge drop in replacement sales. Window 8 never came into the argument at all and the corp-IT people I know say it has some impact, but mostly the computers people have are "good enough" for the tasks that they do.
Well stated Jack L. Really, what does Obamacare, Syria or Linux have to do with the decline of desktop & laptop sales in the U.S., never mind declining sales of those computers in the rest of the world? We can't blame it all on the mis-step of Win 8, although that certainly didn't help matters. Neither can we we attribute it all to consumers' and business users' appetite for tablets & smartphones.
As you so eloquently stated, the desktop & laptop computers we have -- even if they are a couple years old -- are more than powerful enough for the tasks for which most of us use them.
The upgrade cycle has grown longer, at the same time that new mobile computing platforms have captured our collective attention. The fact that the incumbent OS released a less than must-have new version is almost beside the point. A decline in annual sales of traditional computing platforms seems to have been baked in regardless of uncertainty about Win 8.