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back to article PC market to spend ANOTHER year soaked in blood, warns IDC

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 …

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Terminator

I can see this getting worse too.

I've not had to upgrade any component on my PC for nearly 2 years as it plays all the latest games as well as it did with the latest games of 2 years ago. I bought my wife a Nexus 7 in November and she hasn't even turned her PC on (Or her Nintendo DS either) since. The tablet allows her to do everything she ever wanted to do on her PC other than play Warcraft - which she's now bored of anyway.

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Re: I can see this getting worse too.

That's because whilst the PC is capable of a lot more, the consoles aren't and most games are designed for all of the consoles plus the PC.

Which means that any game sold on a console is likely to be written for the slowest console with the crappiest controls, and those flaws will be faithfully reproduced in the PC version.

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Facepalm

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.

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Re: Windows 8 is killing their laptop and desktop markets

Exactly how does a projected decline of 1.3% equate to falling off a cliff?

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Alert

Re: Windows 8 is killing their laptop and desktop markets

I don't know where you got that figure. PC sales were down 8.3% in the 2012 holiday season alone (source: http://channelnomics.com/2013/03/06/pc-sales-tank-worse/). Google "windows 8 sales figures" for some somber reading for Microsoft executives.

Whilst you should be rightly chary of anecdotal evidence, I'll offer this: I'm a tech consultant working with a lot of very high-tech firms - and I don't know a single sysadmin who's planning to roll out Windows 8. The same people who couldn't get Windows 7 out there quickly enough simply don't see a business driver for Win8, and a lot of resistance.

My feeling, for right or wrong, is that the only significant Windows 8 sales happening at the moment are on new equipment where there's not a choice - and that Windows 8 is a brake on those sales, too. The figures seem to bear this out.

It could all have been handled so much better. If MS had made it easy to switch between a conventional, windowed desktop (needed for business) and the can't-call-it-Metro-anymore touch-style full-screen interface (great for tablets), Windows 8 could have been a great success, with customers choosing which environment they prefer. As it is, it was - in my opinion - botched by forcing the touch-style interface upon users, and MS are paying the price for that decision - literally. The number of web pages devoted to ways to revert Win8 to a Win7-style GUI speaks for itself, as does the number of web articles describing the slow uptake of what should have been a decent step-change improvement of a reasonably well-liked (Win7) OS.

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FAIL

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.

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Re: How do they not get this?

Same here - the only laptop I could find with a decent screen so far is the Apple retina with 16:10 and high resolution, but very high price and I am deeply unimpressed by the "features" such as glued-in battery and no standard Ethernet port.

The Chromebook with another version of Linux on it is looking more like it, but really why can't I buy anything that has a decent vertical size/resolution any more?

Yes, I know they all use TV screens and pass on the cost saving which is why the new ultrabooks are so affordable. Oh, did I get that wrong? Damn :(

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Re: How do they not get this?

Indeed. Madness that we are obliged to nurse our old laptops along in the hope that the OEMs finally get the fact we don't want to downgrade our screens. The claim that somehow 16:9 TV screens somehow affects costs of 16:10 laptop screens makes no manufacturing sense either as far as I know.

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HEAR HEAR!!

I just can't understand why they don't get it?. 16:10 with full sRGB accuracy is all I demand. How hard is it for laptop manufacturers to understand this, pick an appropriate supplier and understand that I will also pay for it?

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Re: Stagnation

Not sure I entirely buy this. No solution for something as complex as mobile will work for everyone, partly because it's complex and partly because different people have different tastes, needs, and desires. Apple is seen as expensive and locked down. Android has a maze of support and upgrade issues (not to mention Google's naughtiness). Windows 8 is ... anyway, nothing's going to please everyone.

And having been programming Unix/Linux software since '94, i can tell you that Linux will probably never take over the desktop. It's too foreign, it still requires too much computing knowledge for the average person (even the average person who doesn't have a family and day job), and it won't run certain required (or seen as required) software like Word, Photoshop, etc.

I once saw the tagline "OS X: because making Unix user-friendly is easier than making Windows secure". However, no one but Apple/NeXT has done that yet, and given the culture of Apple and the culture of Linux, I don't know that anyone else will.

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Re: Stagnation

Oh, I'm not saying that Mint is less user-friendly than Windows. I have been elbow-deep in an OS X/Ubuntu/Win7 project at work and haven't had the need/time to try it. However, to say something is more user-friendly than Windows is setting the bar rather low, isn't it?

Chrome is still a techy platform. AFAIK the only people using it are techies like us or their relatives. Android's success came from being cheaper than Apple and Blackberry and not being Apple. On the desktop? Still too early to say.

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Re: Stagnation

Indeed. I went into the local PC World and asked about Linux products. They told me I could buy a Laptop and install Linux on it myself. Now I could but I really didn't want the hassle of uninstalling Windows nor of having to pay Microsoft for the priviliege.

So I bought some RAM online and upgraded my existing laptop instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Just wrong.

"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."

That statement is wrong on all three counts.

"Limited Storage"?

The iPad comes with up to 128GB SSD. That is equal to or larger than the SSD's that come standard in notebooks.

"Scant focus on productivity"?

The fact is that any task that can be done on the average notebook computer, can just as easily (sometimes more easily) be accomplished on a multi-touch computer. Everything from creating and editing Office files, to application and HTML coding, to multi-track audio and video editing, to 3D modelling and rendering, etc., are all tasks that are being run on multi-touch tablet computers.

"No file system access"?

Current desktop operating systems are file-centric, and so they rely on filing systems. On the other hand, iOS and Android accomplish the same tasks but by being app-centric.

The files are still there in iOS and Android, but there is no longer a need to waste time and effort sorting files into a hierarchical folder system, and then later having to look through those folders (containing a mixture of different files) just to find and open the one you want.

Many people have a hard time grasping the essence of this change, and so they call this new type of operating system a "toy" when in actuality it makes the user MORE productive than they have been using desktop operating systems.

In iOS and Android, apps will only see and open files that the app can handle. Any other files that it can't handle are not seen. Files that can be shared (for example photos) can be opened by multiple apps that can work on those files... but again any other files that can't be worked on are not seen by the app. This makes perfect sense, and it eliminates the time wasted going through a filing system before you can start doing what you want to do.

Sometimes a user may want to use a file system in iOS and Android, and that is no problem at all to do. There are many excellent apps that allow you to create your own file hierarchy in iOS and Android, but unless there is a special case where these file systems are needed, these apps defeat the purpose of having and using an app-centric operating system.

For some people changing to a more modern and productive system is easy, but for others accepting change is difficult.

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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.

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Re: the majority of people that use computers to work with

What serveral poeple have been pointing out (not just on this thread) is that we no longer need bigger/faster/more complexticated thingy-bobs to get stuff done in an increasing number of use cases.

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Re: the majority of people that use computers to work with

I'm not denying that, I'm just refuting that tablets and mobile devices are the best replacements for 'full computers'

As I said before I own several examples of these devices. In all cases I have bought them and then managed to find a use case for them to justify the purchase rather than the device itself filling a requirement.

I've just sat here for five minutes trying to think of one thing my tablet does better than my laptop and can't actually think of one.

I suspect this is the same as a lot of other people whether it is conscious or unconscious. I view the whole tablet craze as a collective ''Ooh, look at the shiny!'' ( and I LOVE me some shiny!)

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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.

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Linux

Re: Just wrong.

The file system directory view is just an interface to your data- its a data-centric approach.

Functionally MS have actually improved things a lot in their office suite with the large page of "recent documents" which means that if you happen to be in your app already, you can still get lots of information about data you have recently used. The effect is a little spoilt by the fat-client centric "edit a local copy and then send it to people" approach of "save and send" which people will (mis-) use.

Here's a hint for the LibreOffice crowd. Given how db friendly XML is, how about making a document processor which stores each line (^ to $) in a database. Then you create a view of the document based around sections you've tagged. Only the line you are on is (or lines you have selected are) locked for editing Screen updates due to edits flow up and down from your cursor, so other people editing the document don't bounce you around the screen. Updates are sent back to the db server when you leave a line and replicated out to all other document editors. Keep it docbook format or some such thing, to discourage gratuitous random formatting. Provide MMORPG-like labels to show where other people are in the document.

A pox on this sharepoint malarky, lets have true collaborative editing.

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IT Angle

The industry only has itself to blame?

"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.

The OEMs were prevented from moving into new markets by Microsoft as this would dilute their revenue on the desktop. MS did this through onerous licening restrictions such as requiring payment 'per system' sold ( volume pricing ), regardless as to where it came with Windows or another alien Operating System.

"I am reading about the Gateway adoption of the Corel software. I am interested to understand what this means better and how it relates to any contracts we have with them".

"Pricing is "per-system" only. Prices herein are for Microsoft application products shipped in combination with an OEM's defined PC systems on a per-system basis. A Per-system agreement is a license in which all units of a particular OEM model name and/or number are licensed and a royalty is due for the MS product whenever that particular model is shipped".

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Holmes

Did anyone notice prices going up?

When Win8 came out I watched prices of machines going up; luckily I bought my new machine before that. I'm sure the manufacturers thought "New OS + Ultrabook = we can charge Apple prices!" not realising that a lot of people don't buy Apple for exactly the inflated price reason. I'm waiting for the PC industry to come to their senses before buying again. Last week I built my own computer instead, and was shocked, shocked I say, at what a good machine I could create for so little money...

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