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'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.
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.
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.
I have been seeing five year replacement cycles in some cases, with upgrades in RAM and HD (larger and/or faster) to bridge the gap, it's not just three years lengthening to four. Also, during the Great Recession, computer upgrades often came from picking up newer used machines from dearly departed colleagues. :(
And I would argue that the corporate upgrade cycle got longer because large chunks of the world just went through a recession.
That, and I think upgrade cycles were lengthening anyway. Current hardware is fast and powerful enough that corporations may ask "Do we need to upgrade?" and the answer may be "No." because existing gear still does the job.
In addition, the cost of the new machines is only one component of the total costs of upgrading. A corporate upgrade is a complex exercise requiring lots of planning, and extra hours from those doing it. I went through the exercise a while back when my then employer was acquired, and the new owners decided to fund a needed upgrade. Of course, money reared its head: the upgrade was in stages over three years to reduce the outlay at any single point, and some of what was done was accounted for as "one time integration expenses", because shareholders expected integration costs in a merger and aquisition, and didn't view them with the same disfavor as a higher expense in a budget line item.
My associates and I burned a fair bit of midnight oil doing the swaps and helping users deal with the changes. Fortunately. most folks accessed files on shared servers and didn't have a lot of local data to be preserved. Everyone getting shiny new flat screen monitors as part of the process went a long way toward reconciling users to the changes.
The sales of PC LCD panel seems to agree with the decline of PC sales. Although the decline rate of LCD panel seems to be a lot higher than I anticipate, the decline itself doesn't really come into surprise to me. What interesting to me is why these PC makers not finding other way out for these panels. Clearly, a 10" tablet is too small for any real computer tasks - word processing, spreadsheet calculation, etc. Can 15" fit into a tablet for portability and practicality? There are a couple vendors testing the market. Who knows where it is going to do? Question is coming down to what else these 15", 17" panel be used.
On the other hands, what about the sales of bigger LCD panel - 24" & 26" which are used for desktop screen?
Are you guys serious? Are you saying that Obmacare and Microsoft are the two reasons why the PC Display Orders Plummet in July? I think the management team at the eight leading PC brands -- Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba -- all have better common sense than that. O yea, please leave Microsoft alone. The management team at Microsoft are making excellent decisions right now. I love it!
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists from incubators join Peter Clarke in debate.