Feeds

back to article Euro PC shipments plummet into bottomless pit of DOOOOM

PC shipments in Western Europe declined for the 11th quarter in a row, and suffered the steepest drop on record in the first three months of 2013. That's according to market watchers at Gartner. Some 12.3 million desktops and notebooks found a home during Q1 of this year - those platforms are not completely dead - but this …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge
Boffin

Re: PC shipments ffailing for ONE reason

Actually, it's more likely due to MS's - and PC manufacturers' success.

Windows 7 is still quite good, and most people don't need to refresh their home systems because they've still got enough power to do what they need. Microsoft and the PC manufacturers have succeeded in developing products which are good enough to not need refreshing every 3-5 years.

So what we're seeing is that regular refresh money going into tablets, not because they're better, but because they're something new. Once the tablet market is saturated, like the PC market already is, then the numbers will start telling us what people actually like.

11
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: PC shipments ffailing for ONE reason

Oh yeah because if they had Linux on it sales would shoot through the roof?

Put a load of Linux PCs in PC World and watch sales DROP.

LOGIC FAIL.

People aren't buying new because :

a) money's tight

and b) if their PC is working fine, WHY UPGRADE?

Rule one of business : never make something that doesn't need replacing.

6
0
Silver badge
Boffin

"then the numbers will start telling us what people actually like"

The numbers have already spoken. People like Android.

As the article postures - "at some point in the future, a smartmobe is docked at a thin-client terminal" - This is the natural progression for smartphones. Within the next 10 years I would not be surprised to see consumers owning only one computer - their smartphone. It will wirelessly broadcast to a paired 1080p display, wirelessly connect to a keyboard and mouse, wirelessly access the internet and wirelessly charge itself. All this while chrooting/jailing the user's personal 'space' from their work 'space'.

With the FAIL that is WinPHo, it's no wonder MSFT is shitting itself.

P.S.

@AC: "Put a load of Linux PCs in PC World and watch sales DROP."

WTF? Android IS a linux distro.

Not only have you shown that you are an anonymous coward, you've also shown that you're a shit-for-brains!

4
4
Silver badge
Meh

It used to be

I'd buy a new computer to play the latest and greatest games. Now even many of the basic computers can play the latest games. Hardware has outpaced software so there is now no need to buy new or upgrade.

The only thing manufacturers are offering is thinner laptops at high prices.

Couple that with a reluctance by the masses of not wanting to relearn windows with win 8....

Why the surprise at the news?

2
0
Silver badge

Re: PC shipments ffailing for ONE reason

Oh, they'll need replacing ... just not so often. It used to be standard to replace PCs every 3 years, because the technology was advancing so fast that a 3-year-old PC was obsolete and verging on unable to run today's software. That cycle is slowing. Now a 5-year-old PC is still usable, and today's state-of-the-art systems may be usable in seven years. Also (in the West anyway) everyone who needs a PC has got a PC. That's why the tablet market looks so healthy by comparison: lots of folks haven't got one yet. But it won't be long until the market for tablets is also saturated.

As for making them to fail as fast as possible: a manufacturer that does that will soon be recognised as selling short-lived crap. So they might get a short-term boost from making them cheaper than the competition and selling them at the same price, but you can only fool most folks once. Alfa Romeo never really recovered from making a car that rusted to death in three years instead of ten (ten was then acceptable ... not any more!)

2
0
Silver badge

Re: PC shipments ffailing for ONE reason

True, but I would add that PC manufacturers keep thinking we want more power, whereas phones and tablets suggest we want more access.

Now the costings are all messed up. A case and power supply can easily outstrip the cost of the high tech. New Atom systems cost more than recycled core2's. Core2-i3 isn't much of an upgrade that most people would notice. Sandy-bridge to ivy-bridge isn't a noticeable upgrade to most people. I'd bet most people would hesitate if you asked them if their new i5 laptop is that much faster than an old core2 work laptop.

I'd rather have a home server than a new desktop. I'd rather have a pi strapped to the back of every tv than a new desktop. I'd rather have ac wireless than a new desktop.

I'd prefer new things to upgraded things.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: PC shipments ffailing for ONE reason

I'd prefer new things to upgraded things.

Try comparing a 3-year-old PC upgraded to 8Gb RAM and an SSD, against a new bog-standard PC with a conventional hard disk. You may change your mind. Admittedly, this presupposes that you don't actually need more than 250Gb of storage (i.e. that the 500Gb or 1Tb hard disk will never get anywhere near full).

At the place I work, there are going to be a lot of SSD upgrades in the near future. (It holds the PC's software, all the user data lives on a server).

0
0
Silver badge

Re: PC shipments ffailing for ONE reason

It's a combination of a lot of things: recession, decline ROI on computer upgrades (your reason restated in bean-count speak), and the release of Win8.

No matter how you slice it, Win8 came out to horrible reviews by the actual tech support community. If they ain't recommending, people ain't buying unless they absolutely have to. For as much as we use them, PCs are still a luxury item. You can limp along on the old one if you don't have a Want to upgrade.

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

2013: Microsoft's year of hell rolling along nicely I see

I'm quite enjoying watching this slow car crash in a schadenfreude kind of way.

11
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Re: 2013: Microsoft's year of hell rolling along nicely I see

Me too...can't fathom out the surprise though..

0
0

Why renew anyway?

To most people outside of business, PC's are not a necessity, in that if they have one that does what they need they will stay with it. So when money is tight, as it has been for a few years, people will not renew a PC unless the one they have is broke, no matter what MS may want.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Why renew anyway?

"To most people outside of business, PC's are not a necessity, in that if they have one that does what they need they will stay with it"

Should read:

To most people outside of certified Windows dependent IT departments, PC's are not a necessity, in that if they have one that does what they need they will stay with it

0
0

Re: Why renew anyway?

The trouble with this point of view is that "PC are not a necessity".

I suggest very strongly that PC's are "increasingly" a neccessity as evidenced by them being included in "baskets" when calculating the inflation rate.

They are included in these "baskets" as we are increasingly "reliant" on PC's to access banking, local government services, insurance provisions, pensions, online food shopping and communicating with loved ones.

Therefore is the PC a neccessity? if not now then very soon. As regards how that drives retail buyers behaviour; well if it starts to run slow, generate errors or fail then it will get replaced.

But that will not be driven by any balance sheet depreciation calculation or IT strategy for example.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Why renew anyway?

"PC's are "increasingly" a neccessity"

Suppose that's true (it may well be), and putting aside the presence of PCs in the consumer prices index....

As others have pointed out, but perhaps you don't seem yet to have understood, the vast majority of stuff done on the vast majority of PCs no longer requires this year's model. Or last year's. Probably not the year before either. So who needs a new PC every couple of years?

The number of households and organisations without web access and maybe a bit more (which is for many users more than adequate for their needs) is decreasing year on year.

And if people who do need high end PCs do the right thing and pass on their perfectly usable outgoing PC to someone who can make good use of it, not only is it good for the environment it's bad for the PC builders and OS vendor. What's not to like?

Basically, the mass market for new PCs has had its best days, and it's downhill from now on.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Why renew anyway?

I suspect the inclusion of PCs in baskets is more to mask inflation in the rest of the economy. As everybody here indicated it use to be you buy a new PC every 3 years. I buy bread once a week. But (at least on this side of the pond) they include the PC (down measurably) in the inflation basket but not the bread (up significantly).

1
0
Linux

Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

Why not offer a choice of operating systems rather than offering customers "Windows 8 - take it or leave it" (or perhaps Windows 7 if you are lucky) - or if you are very rich an Apple MacBook. Why not try offering ChromeOS or perhaps one of the "mainstream" Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora or OpenSUSE (rather than unknown and frankly unfit for purpose distributions like Linpus which is all that has been offered in the past). PCWorld sell several Chromebooks on their website but when I walked into one of their stores and asked to buy one - all bar one of their staff had never even HEARD of a Chromebook and they certainly did not have any on display (in the store that I visited) or have any in stock. Maybe this would not affect flagging sales (as many families just use iPads or Android Tablets now) but it would offer read CHOICE - something that has been missing from PC Sales for perhaps a decade.

3
1
Bronze badge

Re: Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

It would be nice to have a real choice. One can buy a case, motherboard, and power supply and forego the option of purchasing an OEM version of Windows to go with them, so Linux is available for the desktop.

But the difficulty is the availability of certain kinds of third-party applications. If Linux sold PCs like hotcakes to the enthusiast crowd that builds their own, the Microsoft Tax would go away, one way or another.

1
0

Re: Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

I'm not sure why this 'very rich' meme continues in relation to Apple laptops. Ten years back, I was buying a new PC laptop every year because the things were built down to a price and simply fell to bits. I looked at better built models (had to really so I could run Linux on them as the really cheap laptops were full of Windows specific gear) but even up at the 1500 quid bracket which was the price of the last Windows laptop I bought, it didn't last more than 12 months before it was a wreck. Toshiba Satellite Pro 3000 just in case you're wondering. Case was cracked, screen backlight died, battery died, keys would fly off the keyboard, power supply cord frayed and snapped, hard drive failed, all just because I carried the thing around in a laptop back all over the world. So, my annual laptop purchasing trip had me looking at the iBook G4 which had just come out and it was 500 quid cheaper than that Toshiba and ran UNIX natively so I figured what the heck? Ten years on, that machine still works. I had a solid three years of main machine use before I bought a MacBook Pro in 2006 which cost 2 grand admittedly, but here we are seven years later and that is still in daily use despite me coming off my bike a couple of times with it in my rucksack and it having a few dents. Now I'm on a MacBook Air and loving it. It may have cost a bit more than the cheapie little Windows laptops but it isn't made of brittle plastic and it isn't bogged down by Windows and all that anti-virus muck so it zips along really well. I'm not rich and I buy Apple because they have a proven track record in my hands as good solid machines. I do have a Windows desktop but I don't like it much and just replaced it as my main desktop machine with a Mac mini which may have half the processor cores and be the size of a sandwich, but it is way faster in actual use than Windows 7 ever was.

0
2
Bronze badge

Re: Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

>"but even up at the 1500 quid bracket which was the price of the last Windows laptop I bought, it didn't last more than 12 months before it was a wreck. Toshiba Satellite Pro 3000 just in case you're wondering. ... all just because I carried the thing around in a laptop back all over the world."

Yes I remember the Satellite Pro 3000 - rubbish - not brought a Toshiba laptop since, after I found that Compaq didn't have a suitable replacement for the Armada E500, I switched to IBM Thinkpad T series and haven't looked back. Yes these machines aren't the fastest but they take the punishment of mobile working.

[Written on my 5 year old T60 running XP, so far only replaced the battery and power cord, but know that a HDD replacement is probably advisable/due.]

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

"Compaq didn't have a suitable replacement for the Armada E500"

Ditto.

A few months back I opted for a legitimate distie-refurb HP Compaq business-class laptop, a 6910p, also from fiveor so years ago, but still perfectly adequate for most people's needs. Can't remeber whether it was two hundred or three hundred pounds. It even came with Win7 instead of the Vista it originally shipped with. Maybe I'll give it an SSD instead of the HDD before too long. But in general it already does what I need, the price made sense.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Perhaps the enforced Microsoft Windows monopoly does not help...?

"legitimate distie-refurb HP Compaq business-class laptop, a 6910p, also from five or so years ago, but still perfectly adequate for most people's needs. Can't remeber whether it was two hundred or three hundred pounds."

My mistake was probably not purchasing a couple of T60's for spares a year or so back when they were quite common in the quality refurb channel and like you say reasonably priced.

Whilst I know that my system is not as fast/responsive as a modern laptop, it is sufficient to satisfy the demands I place on my primary work machine.

0
0
Boffin

It Lives!

I've had many PCs for the last 20 years, but I can count the number of ready-made systems on one hand.

Most of mine have been FrankenPCs, put together from parts. As bits get upgraded, bits are left over, and eventually there is a big enough pile of bits to make another machine </circleoflife>

If you add in motherboard sales, how many's that? I doubt my purchases would've been logged as PC shipments.

3
0
jrd

Old PCs

My 7 year old laptop still does what I need. I don't have a compelling reason to replace the hardware - Windows XP, Office 2003 and Adobe Photoshop CS2 are all "good enough". PCs have become household appliances for most people - you keep the one you have until it breaks or won't get the job done. Or (maybe) Miscrosoft stops supporting the OS.

5
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: It Lives!

".....Most of mine have been FrankenPCs...." It seems that, in the "current econimic situation", businesses are also rediscovering the joy of upgrades as opposed to new purchases. I visited a company the other week that had ten-year-old Dell desktops that they have simply added memory and bigger disks to as required. The bigger issue for them is the projected end of Win XP support which could force them to grudgingly upgrade to Win8. I suspect there are many companies out there that would have been buyng new PCs that have decided to instead stretch the life of those they have.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: It Lives!

"the projected end of Win XP support which could force them to grudgingly upgrade to Win8."

This sentence exhibits a category of error known as an "Off by one error", common in poorly thought out material.

Corporates will have setups (maybe including MS agreements) which come with downgrade rights on new kit and upgrade rights on old kit and the IT department will presumably already have Win7 media.

Where that doesn't apply, there will be plenty of Microsoft authorised places (not necessarily the big names) that will sell you a Windows 7 kit and licence, if that's what you need. It doesn't sound like even MS think Windows 8 is what the customers need yet.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

"Most of mine have been FrankenPCs, put together from parts."

Same here - at the last count about 50 "new" PCs since 1993. Recycling PC bits usually hits a brick wall when there is a significant change in architecture eg AT, ATX, ISA, VESA, PCI, PCI-e, RLL, IDE, SATA, serial ports, parallel ports, USB1/2/3, SIMMs, DIMMs, DDR, DDR2, DDR3, AT psu, ATX 20pin + 4 psu, ATX 24pin +4 +8 psu.

Re-using hardware peripherals can also be inhibited by the lack of drivers for a new OS version.

My garage is full of obsolescent bits. There are ten ivory PC ATX cases with "small" case fans. Last time round everyone wanted black and water cooling with big case fans

The major driver for my upgrade cycles was usually when the "godchildren" wanted faster graphics for a new game. They seem to have grown out of that "must have the latest" phase.

For other uses it is the licensing of software that causes the headaches. The thorny question is always whether a test upgrade onto an experimental tech refresh PC will lose the legal licence of some essential, expensive package?

The last crop of tech refreshed PCs was about three/four years ago. Asus P7P55D variants plus Nvidia 260, 275, and 280 graphics with 500gb drives and dual boot XP + Vista/W7 64. One godson skipped on that round - so his XP P4-D now needs an upgrade - probably W7 only on a P7P55D-E (second-hand) with Nvidia 570 or 660. It is anticipated that the latter won't need the motherboard to support PCI-e 3.0.

The laptops are XP Dell 5150s - mostly bought second hand. They will be replaced by second hand W7 Dell E6410 and probably Libre Office.

Most of the godchildren are now earning enough to have bought themselves Apple laptops for phone app development or music composing.

1
0

What an intelligent approach;

I am not as technically proficient as you but nonetheless I have still bought by last two PC's from the Dell Outlet and variously over time increased the RAM or replaced the OS with Win7 Pro.

Currently I am looking to replace my desktop and have been looking once more at Outlet / Refurb type hardware rather than New.

Certainly after all the press and forum traffic I am body swerving the "train wreck" that is Win8.

What I find most confusing though is the Intell / AMD processor roadmap / specs. Now trying to focus on Intell i3 > i7 generation 2................. I think.

Kr

Neil

0
0

There has been a lot of talk around the computer industry that the desktop is dead because of lack lustre sales, from my personal point of view this is rubbish and a incorrect analysis of the actual situation.

The way I see it is that for the first time ever users can buy a fast, reliable computer at a reasonable price with a reliable operating system that works. Why would you need to upgrade or replace? Desktop computers have come of age!

In my own case I have owned 4 computers in the past and currently have a three year old quad core computer (Chillblast Sidewinder) that cost less than £1000 running Windows 7. For the first time I'm using a computer but loads programs virtually instantaneously, runs them without having to wait for a program to catch up, meaning that I can work or play the way I want all the time.

The two reasons that I am not thinking of upgrading or replacing my current computer is

1) For the first time I do not need more performance or reliability

2 ) As a mainly desktop user I can't see that Windows 8 is going to offer me much extra than I have now, If Windows 8 were a direct upgrade from Windows 7 with more relevant and new features to the desktop I would have bought it. I certainly don't want or need Metro.

Eventually I will replace or update if I encounter hardware problems or there is a new showstopper program that I need which won't run on my current configuration but this won't happen any time soon.

It has been said that tablets and smart phones are replacing desktops, from my perspective tablets and smart phones are in ADDITION to desktops and all have their place. I have a high-performance 10 inch Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean tablet (Toshiba AT 300) and a smart phone (Samsung Galaxy note 2 ) which are great when I am not home or in bed for browsing the Internet or simple games, but for all serious work I would much rather use the desktop. Mice and keyboards are precision implements, much easier than using an imprecise finger. For me touch screens are irrelevant for serious work, I have tried it and always revert back to my desktop (which I am using now).

Long live the desktop PC!

6
0
Thumb Up

Amen to that

I waited 20 minutes for my CPC 464 to load Mini Office

I meditated with my guru when loading Deluxe Paint on my A500

I overdosed on tea swapping all the disks in anticipation to try the beta of Windows 95

I had enough time to explain the concept of a swap file to a customer, while Windows 98 loaded on a PC with 16mb of RAM

I Xpee'd, I switched back to 2000, I XPee'd on SP2 and saw some chinks of light at the end of the tunnel

I Vista'd and the tunnel collapsed

and finally I Windows 7'd,

The journey was painful, but where I am now, it's good. Finally the OS can be "just an OS", it keeps out of the way, without drama, and I can concentrate on using my tools on top of it.

Let's hope they allow the OS to take more of a back seat in 8.1 by toning down the new Start menu for desktop users.

3
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Amen to that

@Corborg

Microsoft sends its sincere thanks to you and all their other beta testers for helping them fleece you each time you thought you were being such a heroic trailblazer.

0
3

This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Amen to that

Alan Sugar and Mr Commodore do too I'm sure.

Sure we would have got to this place sooner if MS had some competition over the years (or didn't squash them), I was the first to shout that Windows was a huge steaming pile of meadow muffin compared to Workbench on a HD with a decent FPU.

But we got there in the end. And that's why I'm in no need to replace my PC anytime soon.

3
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge

I don't know about the all the rest of the world but I know this...

I hang out with a few techs and engineer types, they NEVER wait for a computer to die before replacing it and they always keep up with the latest PC technology. Now that Windows 8 is out, all of them are holding off replacing any of their PCs because of Windows 8. I myself, on the other hand, tend to wait longer. I waited until the drive on my older full sized 15in Notebook started dying the click of death. So I've spent the last couple months checking out Windows 8 on other computers while shopping for a laptop. What I've found is myself continuing to do is put off the purchase because I can't stand working with Windows 8. So now I'm limping along making due with my mini 11in Windows 7 netbook until I can find a suitable non-Windows 8 Notebook.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't know about the all the rest of the world but I know this...

As a 'tech type', I'm also holding off replacing (although I upgraded a couple of systems to Windows 8 when we had that £25 offer, definitely an improvement on 7 for me).

Why delay? Well I like the new detachable formats for mobile but want better battery life and/or performance so I'm waiting to see what Haswell delivers for notebook and/or whether Clover Trail works for me for small PC tablet. If they don't, I'll wait until next year and see what 14nm delivers. Meanwhile probably buy one of the upcoming Android or iOS tablet models to keep my geek side satisfied.

Desktop, this year Intel are focussed on efficiency not performance. GPU-wise, we are waiting for 20nm chips from NVidia or AMD. Better monitors are taking their time to come to market. A slow year basically for desktop. Rule of thumb I never bother with upgrades unless I can get at least 2-3x improvement on what is being replaced.

I think you have been put off Windows 8 unnecessarily. Works fine for me, better than 7 IMO although I make little use of the Metro feature so its 99% business as usual on Windows. Definitely not worth upgrading existing systems for most people but hardly the bête noir its made out to be by some commentators.

0
1
Silver badge
Devil

France now thoroughly PIIGSified

...drops off the market entirely!

"Austerity" being blamed, film at 11.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

with many people in Europe struggling to put food on the table and with 4-year old laptops still doing the job they were bought for perfectly well (battery life aside my 5-year old Dell 1525 still looks and works like new. Thanks to the £25 W8 update it's no longer lumbered with Vista so actually runs better than new) this is surprising?

In other news sky still blue, grass still green, Nick Cllegg still a tit and bears still shit in woods

1
0
Silver badge

EuroPCs are still made?

http://www.classiccomputer.de/ams/scheuropc.htm

Of course you shouldn't be surprised that a PC with an 8088 CPU doesn't sell to well.

0
0

Much as I hate Windows 8...

...I think the real reason is probably that Intel is about to bring out a whole new architecture (Haswell), which means all change on the motherboard and CPU level.

When you have the choice of going out and buying something in a couple of months or so that will at least be upgradeable (CPU-wise) for at least the next couple of years, compared to buying what amounts to a dead platform right now, why would you buy any of those shiny new PCs now? By making sure that only the tick platfom can be upgraded (tocks are effectively "end of the line" for their respective chipset), Intel has manufactured the same scenario car manufacturers used to have when new numberplates were only issued in September, and everyone wanted to be seen with a new numberplate. Needless to say, August was usually dead in the new car market.

That said, we're all in a deep recession also, and people have far more reasons to save than spend. That means, Microsoft and Intel, that unless you are offering something really compelling, you have no chance.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Much as I hate Windows 8...

"Intel is about to bring out a whole new architecture (Haswell), which means all change on the motherboard and CPU level."

How many people in the real world do you think actually care about stuff like that?

" upgradeable (CPU-wise) for at least the next couple of years"

How many people in the real world do you think actually care about stuff like that?

Repeat until bored:

Last year's Wintel box is almost certainly good enough for next year's Wintel workload. The number of cases where waiting for next year's "more upgradeable" PC makes sense is near negligible. Not zero, but might as well be for volume manufacturing purposes.

1
0
This topic is closed for new posts.