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IDC: PC Shipments Decline Worse Than Forecasted, No Recovery Expected 393

symbolset writes "Zach Whittaker over at ZDNet covers an IDC report. In it the 2013 9.7% forecast decline in PC shipments is advanced to 10.1%. Further, IDC's longer-term forecast turns quite grim: contracting 23% from 2012 levels by 2017. There is also a projection of future Windows tablet sales, and a statement that total Windows tablet sales for 2013 are expected to be 'less than 7.5 million units.'"
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IDC: PC Shipments Decline Worse Than Forecasted, No Recovery Expected

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:08AM (#45582591)

    “How did you go bankrupt?"
    Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

    -- Ernest Hemingway

  • Expected (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:14AM (#45582609)
    That's what you get when you plan for planned obsolescence and then can't actually make the machines obsolete. What's "grim" about it?
    • Re:Expected (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:20AM (#45582651)

      I blame Windows 8.

      • Re:Expected (Score:4, Insightful)

        by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:36AM (#45582761)

        Yeah, it really sucks but that is not solely the cause. It's the lockdown that is the cause of the eminent death of the PC industry. Why buy a general computing device that doesn't let you do general computing? Can't believe Microsoft sold the hardware manufacturers on this shit.

        • I don't think it so much that Microsoft's old PC manufacturers on Windows 8 as much as they said we're Microsoft, you're going to sell what we tell you to sell.

      • Re:Expected (Score:5, Funny)

        by lagomorpha2 ( 1376475 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:40AM (#45582789)

        I agree, it's entirely the fault of Microsoft and Windows 8. With Vista Microsoft did their job of making sure the core operating system was so inefficient that it required new high end hardware just to run basic applications smoothly. With Windows 7 and 8 Microsoft has actually been backpedling by writing code that actually runs MORE efficiently!

        Clearly the way to save the computer industry is for Microsoft to introduce some major bugs to their next OS that causes it to require 10x the system resources of Windows 8.

      • Windows 8 is an attempted solution. The movement from Wintel to tablet computers is the problem. (This is why Windows 8 is basically a tablet OS.)

        • That would suggest that MS thinks people move from PCs to tablets because of the OS (or the UI/UX). Personally I see two great advantages in tablets in certain situations: the smaller form factor (use it where you need it), and the fact that they are available instantly when switched on. People do not seem to be turned off by the fact that their Windows 7 machine has a UI that is rather different from their tablet's, but I haven't met anyone who isn't pissed off by the crappy Windows 8 (and 8.1) experienc
          • by jbolden ( 176878 )

            People do not seem to be turned off by the fact that their Windows 7 machine has a UI that is rather different from their tablet's,

            You are incorrect. Computer literacy has been dropping for a decade on desktop OSes. Many of the paradigms on Windows 7 were developed during the days of dual floppies, lower resolution monitors, single tasking and little network interaction. Younger people who didn't evolve from those systems find these systems hard to use and aren't able to be productive on them. That'

            • My sample might not be representative, but I find that young people (preteens) reared on tablets have similar issues in navigating Windows 8 that older people have: hidden active corners, gestures that make sense on a small touch screen but are awkward to make with a mouse, not enough options to organize a mess of icons on the Metro desktop, etc. When shown the classic desktop and start menu, they seem to prefer that (though they will often add shortcuts to their favorite apps to the desktop as well). The
      • When someone brought me a Surface RT with a forgotten local account password due to having not used it for a month, I began to quickly realize what a pile of goat shit Windows RT really is, and I saw "in the flesh" why forced secure boot is a pretty terrible thing. The only repair options are those Microsoft decides to give you, and in her case that meant losing everything on the tablet.
    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      I think it has more to do with shifts to other devices than people keeping their PCs longer. People are still buying new computing devices regularly, they're just things like iPads, Chromebooks, etc. Even households with PCs will nowadays typically have fewer of them. When I was a kid, we had two: one for my parents, and one for my brother and me. But nowadays many households have just one, since between the other devices there is not as much contention for occasional use of the stationary PC.

    • I see the failure to make machines obsolete as a terrible sign.

      I still don't have a fully immersive "holodeck" at home. To reach that point before I die I need the world to be able to make computers obsolete every year at the very least.

      • To make them obsolete you have to convince the consumer they need a new one and there is nothing in the pipeline to do that.

        • That's the problem.

          There's nothing where there should be the first of a large chain of toys, each one being a large improvement from the previous one.

          • Re:Expected (Score:4, Insightful)

            by dugancent ( 2616577 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @10:09AM (#45583061)

            Naa. Computers are an appliance for most people. I don't buy a new blender because mine is old. It's the same with computers.

            • I don't expect my blender to turn into something much better in 20 years. I do expect my computer to do exactly that and I'd be very unhappy if it didn't.

              • I used to be like that, not anymore. For those I know, they never wanted a new shiny computer, they just bought new because their old one was too slow/buggy and they were seriously pissed about having to buy a new one.

                The PC market matured a few years ago and now it's boring. I'm fine with that.

  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:17AM (#45582635) Homepage

    It used to be that a house with multiple PCs wasn't that uncommon. With phones & tablets there are now many households that can get by with zero PCs, and many more that can do everything they need with just one.

    Real world user performance has stagnated, with hardware gains not translating into doing a given task faster anymore. A PC from three years ago isn't that much slower at what most users are doing than a brand new one, so there's no particular need to upgrade.

    This is what a mature market looks like. The product is going to continue to sell for a long time, but it's not the hot item it used to be.

    • A PC from three years ago isn't that much slower at what most users are doing than a brand new one, so there's no particular need to upgrade

      So, all the market needs are more bloated version of Operating Systems? Any guesses on who to turn to solve this crisis?

      • Aha! So Microsoft will eventually release a separate version of Windows 8 for desktop without Metro but full of bloat to slow down "obsolete" PCs and get the upgrade treadmill going again.

        Be careful what you wish for...
      • So, all the market needs are more bloated version of Operating Systems?

        No. It needs more bloated versions of Office suites, too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Real world user performance has stagnated, with hardware gains not translating into doing a given task faster anymore. A PC from three years ago isn't that much slower at what most users are doing than a brand new one, so there's no particular need to upgrade.

      Not true for gamers, my 3 year old mid range build has to be updated to keep up ASAP.

      I wonder if there are enough of us to justify advancement...

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The catch is gamers don't want to dick around with Windows 8, so as Windows 7 gets harder to get, so they drop the whole idea of a major hardware upgrade until windows 8 is passed over either by Windows 9 or Steam Linux. Windows 8 has crippled PC upgrades.

    • I don't know of any households with zero PCs except for a few older relatives who never had one to begin with. I know plenty that only have laptops and no longer have desktops, but I don't see them being completely replaced by smaller devices anytime soon - especially with the rise of streaming media. It's great that you can watch a movie on your tablet or phone, but you'll still want at least a 14" screen to watch a movie *with* someone else.

  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:19AM (#45582643)

    We're past the time when computers are already obsolete by the time you're walking out of the store with them. I don't have a problem with that.

    Not being a heavy gamer, I've had the same core PC (updated disk and graphics is all) for now 10 years. I have bought newer ones for the family, but even the worst new computer is better than the one I still use, and that one is still quite good.

    Unless you're a hard-core gamer, computers should last LONG time for your average user.

    • Even for gamers like myself, the cycle is becoming longer. In the past I got a new PC every few years, but these days it's perfectly fine to just upgrade the GPU every so often and alternate with a motherboard / CPU upgrade. My current rig is 3 years old now but still runs modern games just fine, albeit not in the highest graphics settings. But that's where you enter into the land of diminishing returns.

      New tech like VR headsets which demand high performance computing might bring about a (brief) resur
      • Well, for games, the GPU is now the machine for all intents and purposes. Back in the 90s, this wasn't so much the case. CPUs are good enough... it's just like how many of us haven't bought sound cards in a long time when it used to be required early/mid 90s and upgrades always sought.

        CPUs have become good enough for the majority (for the moment, 4k and 8k is coming and will precipitate a shift, just like 3d without glasses eventually will when it's holodeck level sans touch/feel). I know CPU could alway

        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          CPUs are good enough.

          Only because most games are written for consoles with CPUs for which the word 'crap' would be praise.

          Games written for the new consoles are probably going to make some people regret saying 'I'll just buy a dual-core, you don't need anything faster than that for gaming'.

  • by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:19AM (#45582645)
    PC horsepower exceeded the needs of the average non-professional user a long time ago. I'm sitting in front of a $400 laptop from a couple of years ago that I can use for Adobe Premiere workflow! The market is flooded with computers that do everything a person needs, so why would you expect sales to continue increasing? People who barely use computers are moving to tablets, but tablets aren't what is trashing PC sales. People just don't need new ones, and good for them for milking that hardware until it blows up.
    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      Yes! Agreed; essentially what I was saying - most people are not hardcore gamers or video editors; people have way over-bought for years, there's absolutely nothing new most people need... even moderate 3D gaming works fine on older computers, even if without the bells and whistles, but most people are surfing, watching Youtube and using facebook and sending email... the most taxing thing on the vast majority of computers is the OS.
      • by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:39AM (#45582783)
        The exception would be people who bought el cheapo laptops. For the past few years, $280 would get you a full-size laptop with Windows 7 and at least 2GB of RAM, but they've all saved the money by using the worst processors possible. The Celeron 900 isn't exactly fast, nor the AMD V140. I have drastically improved the performance of a V140 laptop for someone recently by installing Debian with XFCE, but I also know that that's not an option for many people. The bottom-of-the-line CPUs going into many under-$400 laptops are garbage on performance, and owners of those machines would greatly benefit from buying something a little better. The difference between $300 and $400 laptops is insane, and people who cheap out (usually because they honestly don't know any better) get a much worse machine than they might have expected. The only mitigating factor is that if they buy a $280 laptop, they probably don't know it's slow anyway. That or they are broke and need it to job hunt, and I couldn't blame someone in that position for taking the crummy deal if their livelihood depends on it.
        • by JanneM ( 7445 )

          The difference between $300 and $400 laptops is insane,

          It better be, considering that it's a 25% price increase, with most of the value - screen, case, power supply and so on - practically the same.

      • Even hardcore gamers, the last game released that required users to update their rig was Crysis back in 2007. Gaming has completely stagnated in the last 5 years, and people can basically play the modern games at the same settings as what they were able to do for Crysis, all those years ago. You no longer need to update to play the latest releases.

    • My very first computer was obsolete with in a year, one of the earlier games I played on it required more that it had and we had to double the RAM to play it.

      Now my 6 year old PC will play any game on the market, and this does not look like it is going to change anytime soon.

      • Ironically, most handheld games consoles don't even have enough RAM to run a normal Linux on top (I know DSLinux [] exists but it's far from "normal" in the Linux world, being no-MMU with 4MB of RAM to work out of.)
    • Software hasn't kept up. We should be programming in some GUI based/visual data-flow language that's slow, but lets us build functional (crappy) apps at record speed. Then we need to make everyone a "programmer" so they need faster computers, and they don't have to ask IT every time they need something.

  • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

    If you have to bypass UEFI just to have a working computer you might as well buy some other restricted device. Talk about killing the goose...

    • "If you have to bypass UEFI just to have a working computer you might as well buy some other restricted device. Talk about killing the goose..."

      The percentage of PC users who even know what that means is vanishingly small.

      They DO know what malware means and are often tired of hassling with Windows.

      Most people just need an Internet Appliance combined with a Phone. Previous "internet appliances" were crippled. Netbooks were crippled. People want RELIABLE systems which are CONVENIENT and "less crippled".

      LOTD i

  • Endorse MS Much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thruen ( 753567 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @09:38AM (#45582773)
    I believe that PC sales have been declining and will decline and stagnate, that sounds legitimate, but this...

    "Even so, these Windows devices are projected to account for 10% of a combined PC & Windows Tablet market by 2016 – making them an important growth segment for the PC ecosystem."

    Really makes Mr. Loverde sound like he's being paid to say good things about Windows. Who in their right mind could possibly believe that Microsoft's failure of a project is going to end up accounting for 10% of the market? It's a failure amongst tablets alone. I don't even know if there would be any benefit from him saying this, it just sounds crazy.

    On a related note, I currently play Battlefield 4 on a computer I put together for around $400 a year ago, so I can definitely see why the PC market is struggling. But it will never disappear, which is enough for me.

    • I work for a few small businesses. You might be surprised how many are trying to get a tablet that runs their existing Windows applications.
  • Almost 35 pop (Euro) for an old 2GB DDR2 bar. I mean come on!

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @10:11AM (#45583081) Journal
    Content creators, be it website designers, or code warriors or video editors, book typesetters, desktop publishers, they all had a good run for about 2 decades now. They needed a machine with fast chips, oodles of memory and powerful graphics. Their machines were subsidized by the content consumers who did nothing more than surf the web, send emails, store/view photos and videos and wrote an occasional letter. The content consumers who out numbered content creators 10 to 1 or more were the reason why extremely powerful computers are dirt cheap.

    Then the split happened. Finally people realized, the market demanded and the free market delivered a computer purely optimized for content consumers. They have deserted and are deserting the all purpose computer in droves. At the end of the day, we code warriors would be forced to pay more for our computers. Still the commodity common components like memory and peripherals would be amortized over a larger set of computer users. The desktop pc might not get to be as expensive is IBM 3090. But the days where you can run Fluent solver to simulate fluid flow on a "home" PC are gone.

  • I ran tablets for a few years, generally wanting to not lug aournd a notebook. After having a tablet stolen, I’m back on full blown PCs again. I missed having windowed apps, real keyboards and media players that didn’t suck (I’m looking at you, Comcast, blocking HDMI playback on your lousy player).

    Granted it’s not as portable as I’d like, and I still use a tablet for reading books and remote controls on my home theater, but when I want to do much of anything else I prefer the P

    • I'm using a tablet at the moment and just realized that I haven't opened my laptop in over a week. I have a desktop too, but it hadn't been powered on since September.

  • by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Tuesday December 03, 2013 @11:10AM (#45583803) Homepage
    This is sad news. the PC market has so far been the one who has driven development and innovation.

    Want a bigger disk? Buy a bigger disk and put it in your PC!
    Want more memory? Buy more memory and put it in your PC!
    Want a faster CPU? Buy a faster CPU and put it in your PC!
    Want a faster GPU to play games? Buy a faster graphics card and put it in your PC!

    The rest of the market, phones, tablets and consoles is all "consumer packaged components" which are not replaceable or upgradeable.

    The whole AMD/Intel war would not have happenbed without the PC.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake