back to article Even Windows 10 can't save the PC market as chip shortages, Brexit uncertainties bite

Tech analyst IDC said Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) PC market shipments slid in calendar Q4 due to shortages of a certain processor and turbulent politics. Though its preliminary findings show a 5.8 per cent year-on-year drop in unit shipments compared to the same period in 2017, there were a few rays of hope. …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    WTF?

    Brexit uncertainties?

    Maybe the author didn't read his own article? Not sure if this is confirmation bias, or just us arrogant Brits thinking that the whole world's economy revolves around us!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brexit uncertainties?

      >or just us arrogant Brits thinking

      Note the URL paying particular attention to the last two parts, www.theregister.co.uk.

      If you read the article it first talks of the general World markets then the UK market, after all see above.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Brexit uncertainties?

        "If you read the article it first talks of the general World markets"

        In fact, it's not even world markets. It's just EMEA.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Brexit uncertainties?

        UK results seem to be about the same as the rest of the EU, so Brexit, while a bad thing, clearly isn't the cause.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    Imagine how much money could be made if Microsoft were to release a new version of Windows 7 - I'd pay for it and install a licensed copy on every W8 and W10 PC in the office.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Step down a level or two through the W10 admin options and you can find some very old friends.

      Turning off the built in spyware and offering a look (& pause) at updates before they happen covers most of my W10 gripes.

    2. Mr Benny

      Seems to me that the idiots have taken over the asylum over at Redmond and anyone who knew anything about GUI and OS design have left and its the hipster "Like dude, these almost invisible buttons look so totally minimalist and cool, lets include them!" types left who have crapped over the entire user experience.

      1. overunder

        "so totally minimalist and cool,"

        Don't forget "beautiful" and "elegant".

    3. toejam

      Or even a consumer version of Win10 LTSB with a Win7 style Explorer, Start Menu, and window theme. I like most of the changes under the hood of Win10. I just hate the new UI, telemetry, and upgrade system/schedule.

  3. Robert E A Harvey

    Surface grinder

    I've tried - I've really tried - to like the surface pro, but it isn't fish nor fowl. Not appearing in these figures is no bad thing IMHO

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    Windows 10 can't save the PC market

    From title: "Even Windows 10 can't save the PC market"

    Fixed it. You're welcome. After all, windows 8 and 10 *BROKE* the PC market!!! Well, that _and_ the lack of Moore's Law causing next year's model to be *PERCEPTABLY* faster by 25% every year.

    Now... a re-release of Windows 7, or even XP, complete with 'new hardware' updates and any additional kernel+driver fixes from Win-10-nic, *WOULD* save the PC market, if Micro-shaft even DARED to admit their YUGE mistakes with 8 and 10...

    but they're too busy slapping lipstick onto the non-oinky end of THAT boar!!!

    /me wonders how many Win-10-nic users would GLADLY *PURCHASE* Windows 7 to replace 10 with... as long as it was being maintained, updated to run on the hardware, and so on [or even if it were NOT]

    1. Nathan 13

      Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

      I would happily buy W7 licences for my 3 pcs. I HATE W10, it really is a complete piece of shit!!

    2. Persona

      Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

      Nope. The smartphone broke the PC market. Most of the things that a home user did on their PC, they now do on their phone. The few instances when they need the PC they struggle and do it on their phone slowly and inefficiently because it's not worth the expense of buying a PC to fill those needs alone. Business users need the productivity of the big screen, keyboard and mouse so they are still largely buying PC's though for some job functions the phone is sufficient.

      1. Mr Benny

        Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

        In one way thats a good thing because the App Store and Google Play have stopped Berners-Lees vision of the web taking over just about every bloody facet of the online (and sometimes offline) experience from succeeding. I don't want to use a browser for everything, its often inefficient, slow, a security risk and doesn't have the power of a native program.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

        "Most of the things that a home user did on their PC, they now do on their phone"

        that was the perception from SALES data... but people who buy a smart phone don't throw away their PCs, they just don't buy NEW ones. Same with slabs. That misinterpretation of the market drove Micro-shaft to do what they did in 8 and Win-10-nic - the "one windows, everywhere" nonsense, in particular. The spectacular failure of THAT market thrust should prove my point. [admittedly 8's tile screen works for a fondle-slab, but NOT on a PC and 8.0 was a MAJOR failure, too]

        You're right about a few people I would have to admit. But from my own perception, I'd say that the vast majority of people still use PCs for what PCs do better for, and just don't buy new ones.

        Give people a REASON to get a new PC, though, and they will, if for no other reason than to replace the aging hardware that's increasingly difficult to find repair parts for [or have security concerns that Intel won't fix]. Windows 10, of course, stands in the way of that.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

      To quote

      Micro-shaft even DARED to admit their YUGE mistakes with 8 and 10

      Sadly that is something they will never ever do.

      Windows 10 is IMHO a solution for a problem that does only exists in the minds of the MS Drones in Redmond.

      1. Persona

        Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

        Windows 10 should have been the solution to exactly what the article was about, namely the inevitability of the market for home PC's evaporating. Their hope was to keep their users by developing Windows phones that felt the same as their Windows desktop at work and also gave them the option to allow their phone to plug into a screen/keyboard to give the productivity when and if required.

        The problem was that they came late to smartphone market and missed getting aboard the apps bandwagon. In their panic to catch it they pushed out Windows 10 to phones before it was ready and destroyed the platform they hoped to migrate their users to by making it an unattractive choice for third party phone manufacturers.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

          Windows 10 should have been the solution to exactly what the article was about, namely the inevitability of the market for home PC's evaporating.

          It wasn't that because a phone that looked and worked like a PC, or vice versa, was doomed to fail from the start. There is a reason touch UIs for small screens and non-touch UIs for larger screens are different, and it is not just styling. Some ideas look good on paper, but are proven daft in the real world. The "one UI to rule them all" was one of them.

          Windows 10 has been so bad that its undesirable nature has entered pop culture, where even phone-only millennials know that "Windows 10 will fuck you up," as one viral video put it. Having that as the sole choice in a market already facing long odds is not helpful, and would never have been helpful in different circumstances. Treating customers badly and trying to take control of other people's hardware is not going to win friends in any case. If they had kept the dysfunction contained to the UI, as with Windows 8, aftermarket tools could make it a decent OS despite Microsoft's efforts, but in 10, the crappiness goes so much deeper that it's irredeemable.

          Some of the factors relating to the loss of PC sales are beyond Microsoft's control. The rise of smartphones and the end of the Moore's Law-related obsolescence cycle, especially. One thing they can control is the quality of the OS they sell that is preinstalled on nearly all of those PCs, and it's terrible. It is not the first terrible Windows release, but it is the first one that people were forced to accept anyway because they've sabotaged their older, better versions for currently-sold hardware and promised that this will be the last version ever (so abandon all hope, ye who enter here).

          If MS was really interested in keeping Windows viable long-term, I doubt very seriously they would be following the path they are. The current path will monetize people short term and push them away long-term, and I must conclude that this is the desired goal. Time will tell if this is another one of those fateful business decisions that are future textbook material in business administration texts as a case study in what not to do.

        2. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

          Their hope was to keep their users by developing Windows phones that felt the same as their Windows desktop at work ...

          Microsoft have always had this crazy notion that one single UI can be usable on computers of different shapes and sizes with different hardware mechanisms for input. It wasn't true when they tried to put the windows 2000 desktop on a PDA and call it "Windows for Pocket PC", and it still wasn't true when they tried to put the Windows Phone 7 UI onto a desktop and call it "Windows 8".

          Phones and desktops are different devices, used by different people at different times for different things. A lot of people use both kinds of device, but for different things at different times, other people may use only one kind of device because they don't need to do the things for which that device is ill-suited.

          Microsoft may have had many reasons for wanting to use a common UI across all platforms -- they may (as you say) have wanted their phone devices to gain acceptance by appearing familiar to desktop Windows users, they may have wanted to simplify their codebases by maximizing the use of common code across all platforms, they may have wanted to maximize the revenue they got from commissions on sales of all three apps in their app store ... wanting something doesn't make it achievable.

    4. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

      Windows 10 is an OS designed to make Microsoft more money. It is not - and never has been designed "for the users". And MS's method of improving profit is to massively reduce the cost of developing and maintaining Windows - primarily by replacing paid testers with users, and making it much cheaper to develop Windows as well.

      1) By moving to "Windows-as-a-service", MS eventually only needs to support one codebase (albeit with a few different versions of that codebase out in the wild). Far cheaper than supporting 3-4 different editions of Windows at once (ie, supporting Vista, 7, 8 and 10 as they were doing when 10 first came out).

      2) By binning most of their QA department, they save a fortune on testing staff. Why pay people when you can use "insiders" to do it for you?

      3) Also, by forcing businesses to use Semi-Annual Channel (by crippling LTSC by blocking Office 365 for example), you help ensure lots of businesses also take part in Insider testing.

      4) By forcing updates and telemetry, they ensure that home users become the final round of testers. It had nothing to do with improving security and everything to do with MS forcing the updates onto home user's PCs, then using telemetry to spot trends with app/system crashes and other such issues they'd missed during the Insider testing. This allows them to fix these before the update reaches business users (where the real money is).

      5) By also forcing driver updates, if a bug is found in a driver you can get the manufacturer to fix the driver, force it to user's PCs so you can quickly resume the forced updating and testing process.

      6) To ensure you have a sufficient pool of "home testers", you roll out a "free upgrade" program which aggressively pushes home users onto Windows 10. This maximises your testing pool and ensures your telemetry is providing useful data from a large sample.

      7) Finally, by going down the "Windows-as-a-service" approach, you can get away with minor tweaks, rather than having to ship an entirely overhauled OS every 3 years. Look how much Windows 10 has changed in 4 years - only a few minor tweaks here and there. Then compare that with the difference between XP, Vista, 7, 8 etc. In short, it allows MS to put far less effort into developing Windows whilst still making it look like they're doing something at least to keep the cash rolling in.

      In short, re-releasing Windows 7 isn't going to happen as it'd cost MS money, and their whole current approach is cheaper development.

      1. toejam

        Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

        Having a single code base for every platform was actually a good idea. In the good ole days, PC, mobile, embedded, and gaming all used their own forks of NT. They just executed that vision very poorly. Too many older Windows phones never received an upgrade, which pushed angry users to other platforms. Windows 8 had too much mobile emphasis. Too many bodies were thrown at unification while too few were thrown at new features.

    5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 can't save the PC market

      The PC market and to some degree the phone markets are mature markets. This means the replacement cycle will stretch out as there is no compelling reason to replace working kit. So kit gets replaced when it is effectively dead not when a new model or a new OS is released. Bloat 10 was never going to 'save' the PC market as it is a mature market and will act like any other mature durable goods market.

  5. Aoyagi Aichou
    Mushroom

    Chip shortage?

    Good heavens, don't frighten me like that. Brexit or not, I WILL have my fish&chips.

    1. arctic_haze Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Chip shortage?

      However EU made Marmite may be a problem...

      1. A.P. Veening

        Re: Chip shortage?

        "However EU made Marmite may be a problem..."

        In that case the Marmite is the problem, whether it is EU made or not isn't really relevant.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Chip shortage?

          Heathen!

          Maybe you should move to Paris if you don't like Marmite -->

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Daedalus Silver badge

    Hasta las vista, kids

    Us pros can't wait for the drones to get out of the PC market. Then we can get back to having PC's that work and are comfortable to use, rather than ones that look great on the store shelf but are pieces of utter crap.

  7. jason 7

    One word...

    ...reconditioned.

    That's all we buy now. Three machines/laptops for the price of one. Core i5/8GB ram/250GB SSD/Win 10 Pro.

    Perfect.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: One word...

      the last PC I bought was a reconditioned Lenovo - with Win 7 on it - because I still could and didn't want to lose the opportunity to get pre-installed 7.

  8. katrinab Silver badge

    Why would you upgrade?

    My 3 gen i7 still runs pretty fast. Sure, the latest ones are a bit faster, but not compared to the difference between for example the 386 and the Pentium.

    1. Fury556

      Re: Why would you upgrade?

      Yup - I'm running a 4th gen i5 and even the latest chips only offer something like 30-40% performance increase, but it'll set me back north of £500 for a compatible board and RAM. Just not worth it.

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