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IDC says 2013 will be one of the worst years yet for PCs

IDC has issued its latest report looking at the state of the PC industry. The company predicts that PC shipments will fall by 10.1% in 2013. This will be the worst year of contraction on record if IDC is correct.
IDC says that interest in PCs is very limited, giving little indication of positive growth other than replacing of existing systems. IDC is also predicting that sales of PCs will decline an additional 3.8% in 2014 before getting a little more positive in the long term.
IDC predicts that total PC shipments for 2013 will be a bit over 300 million units. That is only slightly ahead of the volume of PCs shipped in 2008.
"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC. "While IDC research finds that the PC still remains the primary computing device – for example, PCs are used more hours per day than tablets or phones – PC usage is nonetheless declining each year as more devices become available.”
“And despite industry efforts, PC usage has not moved significantly beyond consumption and productivity tasks to differentiate PCs from other devices. As a result, PC lifespans continue to increase, thereby limiting market growth."
IDC does believe that 2-in-1 devices that can function as tablets and notebooks will drive some growth for Windows devices. IDC also predicts significant growth for Windows-based tablets with 29.3 million units in 2017 up from 7.5 million in 2013.

Source: IDC

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The Problem
By cscpianoman on 12/4/2013 11:47:32 AM , Rating: 4
1. Current technology with PCs accomplishes most of what anyone wants, including businesses. We don't need the latest and greatest Intel/AMD processor because last generations stuff is "good enough."

2. Tablets/Phones are eating into the industry. If I had a choice to buy a computer or tablet/phone right now it would be tablet/phone. My consumer limited dollars are speaking.

3. Software needs to catch up. Moore's law is great in all, but software only increases on a linear vs. exponential rate.

So, no surprise here that the PC industry is "slowing." It is not the end of PCs because we still need them for the vast amount of content creation we do.

RE: The Problem
By JediJeb on 12/4/2013 1:16:10 PM , Rating: 4
As with any technology, once you reach market saturation sales become based on maintenance and upgrade instead of adoption. If they don't break and there is no reason to upgrade, then sales are going to fall off. Same thing will happen with tablets once the market is saturated, they will need to have a major advantage to upgrading often or sales will fall off for those too.

Heck, my old AthlonXP computer at home still does all I need it to do, so unless I get into video editing or something that needs more power there is no reason to upgrade it. It started life as a PentiumII 300mhz and over about 5 years was turned into an AthlonXP 2400 going from 250MB ram to 2GB ram, that was back when fast paced changes were happening. How fast are things changing on a yearly basis now?

RE: The Problem
By Cypherdude1 on 12/4/2013 9:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
"Perhaps the chief concern for future PC demand is a lack of reasons to replace an older system," said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC.
I built my own PC not long ago. I bought and assembled an i7, 16 GB desktop system. I plan to run a special calculation intensive application. It will have formulas which will run the CPU at 85% or above. You could never do that with a tablet or smart phone:

This Cyber Monday, I wanted to purchase 2 eVGA GTX770's but, for some reason, none of the eTailers are selling this card at nVidia's MSRP of $329:

I was hoping I could get a special for the GTX770's at $299 but it never happened. I wanted the GTX770's so I could use nVidia's CUDA-enabled GPU and Corel's VideoStudio X6 to render videos much faster than with just a CPU.

RE: The Problem
By robinthakur on 12/5/2013 11:58:26 AM , Rating: 2
I think laptop sales will curve downwards slower than traditional desktop PCs as they are at least more portable, even if they are noisy, fragile and heat up. Businesses have found out that you don't necessarily need to upgrade anymore as long as you don't install Microsoft's latest and greatest and games are now better handled by consoles and mobile which ensure that most people don't need those expensive new GPUs and CPUs. It's a perfect storm unfortunately...

RE: The Problem
By YearOfTheDingo on 12/4/2013 3:46:48 PM , Rating: 4
There're plenty of possible improvements to the desktop experience. Take WinFS, for instance. What the hell ever happened to it? I still remember seeing BeOS for the first time almost twenty years ago. It seems so logical to store file metadata in a relational database. Finding things on one's hard-drive still sucks. It's easier to find what some dead guy said two hundred years ago than to find what I wrote myself two weeks earlier.

A big part of the problem is that leadership in the tech sector don't know how to operate in a matured industry. Everyone is still in the chasing the headline mentality. If it's now in the news then it's not relevant. The reality is that tens of millions of people use their PC's everyday to do productive things. The present stagnation reflects just useful it is, such that it manages to reach a saturation point. There's no much growth from people learning about the virtues of the PC and wanting to have one--because everyone has one already.

RE: The Problem
By inperfectdarkness on 12/5/2013 5:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
You just precisely and eloquently detailed why the arguments against the Wii-U are essentially invalid. It is also the reason that I gave up desktop-gaming years ago--opting for power-laptops as a desktop-replacement.

I completely agree with your assessment. The need for "hardware refresh" has slowed considerably. Software is indeed the bottleneck now. I can think of no other reason why higher resolution screens (> 1080p) have been slow in coming, other than a lack of software warranting them. Desktop 30" monitors with WQXGA are a niche at best. I should have them in a 15" laptop by now. Thank god at least MSI isn't asleep at the wheel.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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