When PC sales continued to slump last year, a common line of thinking was “wait for Windows 8.” Well, we waited ... it came ... and now things are even worse. International Data Corporation (IDC) just released global shipment data for the first quarter of 2013, and PCs celebrated Windows 8’s arrival by having their worst quarter ever.
IDC’s data speaks volumes. Compared to Q1 of 2012, worldwide PC shipments were down 13.9 percent. The year-to-year drop is the biggest since IDC started tracking PC shipments (it took up the hobby in 1994).
HP's worldwide shipments fell more than 23 percent. Dell's dropped by 10 percent. Lenovo is the only major PC manufacturer that didn’t see a decline from last Q1 – and it just broke even.
There are a few things going on here. The global economy still isn’t in the greatest shape. No money, no expensive PCs. Windows 8 also hasn’t exactly captured customers’ imaginations the way Microsoft hoped it would.
Bob O’Donnell, IDC’s VP of Clients and Displays, minced no words when discussing Windows 8:
- At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market. [...] Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.
But the biggest culprit is much more obvious. Mobile devices. They’re like a swarm of leeches, gnawing away at traditional PC sales. It’s no coincidence that Apple and Samsung are swimming in pools of money, while HP and Dell gasp for air.
The PC lives ... just not the way it used to
As always, this will spawn a bevy of “Death of the PC” headlines. The more level-headed view, though, is that people still use PCs. They just don’t upgrade them as often. And why would they, when they're spending less time behind the desk in front of a PC and more time on the couch or in bed holding an iPad, Galaxy, or Kindle?
Mobile hasn’t killed the PC. And it probably won’t anytime soon. But it sure has pushed it to the sidelines.
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