PC sales are slumping

PC sales are starting to slump according to some industry reports. What’s behind the PC industry’s downturn? We put this question to our Zintro experts.

Jeff Drobman, a computer engineer, says that PC sales are slumping due to a combination of factors.

  • Smartphones and tablets: “While not a complete replacement for a PC, smartphones and tablets offer a compelling choice for consumer dollars, as well as for some business applications,” Drobman says.
  • Reduced upgrading: “There is just not a compelling reason to upgrade anymore, and that goes for hardware options,” he says.
  • Windows versions or app software: “Phone apps are more popular now,” he says.

TDCBob, a marketing consultant, says that the slump of the PC starts with the question of what is a PC these days. “Some of the industry’s top analysts can’t decide to add tablets or leave them out of the PC category. One major analyst includes workstations as PCs. And, Intel and Microsoft’s continual reluctance to admit an end to the PC era comes from their desire to redefine the PC as computing chips get embedded in many new devices,” he says. “This is a temporary slump as people wait for Windows 8 and lower prices on Intel’s Ultrabook initiative. We have a slump now because millions of iPads and other tablets subtract buyers from PC sales figures. However, there is a longer term decline as western PC markets mature. Mobile phones are smarter and those companies have added computing power to create a new era of mobility that topples PC sales almost as much as they topple the sale of digital cameras.”

TCDBob points out that all of these trends may be less significant than the fact that PC is suffering from industry disruption, ironically created by ITs own flight to cloud technology. “Cloud technology shifts computing into utility mode, making displays the new personal computers and enabling a horde of personal devices that suck down intelligence from the cloud,” he says.

Ricardas Jascemskas, a writer and editor of a video and computer magazine,  says that the phrase “PC is dead“ is almost as old as the platform itself. “With every console generation or some other alternative form of computing device, many loud voices on the internet start to bury the PC, especially in the gaming industry. However, the PC platform is now as alive as can be with independent studios becoming more popular, crowdfunding business models emerging, and quality free-to-play games becoming a widespread standard,” he says. “The threat to conventional PC usage is wider than ever before because of the rise of tablet and mobile platforms. With their power and abilities as well as falling prices, there‘s nothing to stop them from dominating the market. But that doesn‘t mean that PC will become irrelevant; companies just need to adjust their products, rethink strategies, and offer PCs stressing the integration with other devices and unique opportunities.”

Jascemskas says that as mobile devices become commonplace and might replace PCs in everyday use, there is an opportunity form some companies to get back to PC roots and present the PC as an ultimate heavy task machine and ask a premium price for it.

“A successful example is Lenovo‘s so called PC Plus strategy, which clearly worked, as this Chinese company just overtook HP and became the number one PC maker in the world,” says Jascemskas. “In the gaming world, new financing models are opening up opportunities for creative people to develop more demanding games, like the recently announced Star Citizen, which is developed by Wing Commander and will be PC exclusive requiring a high-end machine.”

By Maureen Aylward

Zintro, Inc

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