back to article Number cruncher charts rise of the personal computer...

A map of the rise and rise of the personal computer over the past 30-odd years shows that the platform's popularity may have at long last peaked. Blogger Horace Dediu has posted a fascinating graph charting the relative sales of key computing platforms over the past 36 years, from the early days of 8-bit micros to the present …


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  1. JDX Gold badge


    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Does that really say,

      Android is ahead of iPhone?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Essential Reading

    Horace used to work for Nokia and really knows his stuff. Unbiased and insightful.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's more..

    There was another piece floating round the net lately, showing PC sales alongside iPad sales. PC sales slumped as iPad sales rose. Coincidence? The slump could be down to the economy, or it could be down to laptop buyers picking up a tablet instead. We'll know in a few years I guess.

    As to phones taking over from PCs, I think not. You wouldn't pick a smartphone *instead* of a computer, you have one "as well". There will be very little impact from phones, surely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Replacing laptop for iPad

      My mother-in-law needs a new laptop. She does web-based email, internet banking and regular browsing. We'll be getting her an iPad and she can't wait! Our 7 year-old is desperate to be the one who shows her how to use it...

  4. jca111

    Trend still upwards

    Looking at that graph, surely the trend is still upwards? There have been a couple of other minor dips and flat points, but its too early to say it has peaked after 1 years of level data.

    We are also in a recession, so I know I haven't upgraded my PC (I used to regularly after 3 years). I'm holding back, and upgrading its hardware instead.

    So I don't think the PC has peaked....... just yet!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You can prove anything with facts. I reserve the right to retain my prejudices despite any evidence to the contrary.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely interesting

    though I can't help but wonder not so much about units shipped, but more about unit cost, total shipments worth, computing power per unit and so total computing power shipped, and perhaps even efficiency of computing power applied per unit and total shipped. But that'd be Real Work to ferret out.

    The great thing about this blournalism is that it's an easy road to fame; you grab a handful of numbers, put them in fancy graphs that may or may not mean anything (Obxkcd), and lo and behold you get mentions everywhere including in industry rags, as if you've contributed something worthwhile to the world. But have you? The graphs hide that tidbit quite well.

  7. John Sanders

    Yeah yeah the PC is death

    Why couldn't they say that not so many pc's are sold because the market is reaching saturation (everyone has one, or several I have 5!), there is not such an urge to update old computers as it was before, and the rise of tablets and phones has to do with situations in which a PC is not a good fit, using a laptop for browsing and calls is not as size-convenient as a smartphone.

    Why no one is talking about the demise of voice calls? at the end of the day the phone networks nowadays carry hundreds if not thousands times more data than voice.

    Why no one is talking about the death of cars just because less cars are being sold nowadays and more people cycle around?

    Stop with the death of the PC rubbish!!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      John: for people like us, a tablet just complements a normal computer. For a huge number of people though, a computer is just something to browse the web, check email, maybe watch youtube or play a light game on. They don't know what a root kit is, they hate waiting for windows updates, and if something breaks they have to pay somebody to reinstall something.

      For those people a tablet is *better* than a full computer, and they'll happily ditch the PC. There's a *lot* of people like this out there (and having them in charge of a PC is pretty scary, it's a good thing if they stop using it ;)

      1. John Sanders


        Nope, they will not ditch the PC until the tablet can be attached to a docking station with a keyboard a mouse and a network connection.

        Which makes the tablet just a slightly more portable laptop-like device.

        My mom 61, which is completely computer illiterate told me that my brother's iPad was quite cool at first, then she realized that all she needs is a lighter laptop, but that she prefers the laptop to the tablet.

        And seriously my mom has an aversion to computers. She uses the laptop for email and browsing only.

      2. Toastan Buttar
        Thumb Down

        iPad depends on having PC / Mac, too.

        Due to its dependence on the Apple connector and iTunes, lack of removable memory, etc, etc, you'd be mad to *replace* a desktop / laptop with an iPad. It only makes sense as a second computer.

  8. Nick Ryan Silver badge


    ...shows the level of epic cock up that Commodore managed!

  9. John Sanders

    The sad thing about Commodore

    Is not that they managed to cock up, every company does (albeit some more than others) the tragic thing about Commodore is that everyone in the industry makes as hard as they can to ignore and forget them, they have been willingly vanished from the history of the IT industry.

    No one gives credit Commodore for anything they accomplished, they are just ignored.

    Commodore computers had something no other system manages to offer today, they will always wondered you with seemingly impossible feats given the hardware specifications.

    With the C64 and later the Amiga at the time it seemed that the only limit was your imagination.

    CBM machines had always lots and lots of clever tricks in the bag.

    1. Toastan Buttar

      Amiga was great in its day

      However, it would need a FAR more robust and abstraction-layered OS to be useful in today's internet-centric home computer experience. And that would unfortunately negate a lot of the very clever tricks that they were able to pull in the days of stand-alone machines talking directly to the chips.

  10. Probolone

    Palm missing?

    Well, i suppose it's not included in "other smartphones"...

  11. K. Adams

    Content Consumption vs. Content Creation

    The full-blown PC (or Mac) desktop/laptop won't die completely, at least not in the medium term, because tablets and smartphones are by-and-large content **consumption** devices, but still aren't very good as content **creation** devices (relative to a full-blown desktop/laptop).

    (Although, to be fair, there has been quite a bit of progress in this area lately. For example, tablets can now do relatively simple photo and video editing, and are making inroads into the DJ and live performance markets as audio mixing board system controllers.)

    I do think, however, that you will start seeing the average "no-longer-in-school-so-I-don't-need-a-computer-for-term-papers" consumer shift away from full-blown desktops/laptops for home use, since for many people tablets, smartphones, and the new generation of "media portal" DVR boxes, Blu-Ray players and TVs can provide all of their home electronic media needs.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      @Content Consumption vs. Content Creation


      And don't forget to add the Cloud Gaming (or whatever it's called this week) where the end user, quite rightly, doesn't give a damn about the configuration of their Computer - they just want to frag things in pretty 3D on the latest First Person Shooter. Other than the control issues, doing this kind of gaming on a tablet is ideal and BT or USB peripherals can negate many of these control problems.

    2. Mark 65

      The other thing to note is that, given the quad core architecture of the Transformer Prime and its keyboard, at what point is an Android tablet really like what we are considering to be a PC? It is as if Linux has found it's route onto the desktop of the common man by first appearing on phones then utilising the low energy ARM architecture that MS doesn't currently work on to sneak up on it. Manufacturers like the price (even with MS tax) and MS cannot force them to dispense with it as they have nothing to offer in its place.

  12. JDX Gold badge

    @John Sanders

    You assume all PC users NEED a PC. Many, many people ONLY use their PC for web-browsing & content consumption, email and Facebook.

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