Has the Traditional PC Had Its Day?

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The first quarter of 2013 was a grim one for the PC. Business Wire reported thatthe shipment of PCs worldwide totalled about 76.3 million units. The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC tracker indicated that this represented a fall compared to Q1 2012.

Traditional PC

IDC is the leading global provider of market intelligence, events for information technology, consumer technology markets, telecommunications and advisory services. IDC supports IT professionals, the investment community and business executives, makingfact-based decisions on business strategy and technology purchases. There are more than 1,000 IDC analysts around the world whose primary responsibility is to give expertise on industry opportunities and trends in more than 110 countries.

pcSubtle improvements amid numerous problems

Although there were glimpses of subtle improvement in the economic environment, along with a few new PC models entering the market and Windows 8, overall PC shipments were statistically lower across all regions when compared to last year’s reports. Declines in the shipment of mini notebooks took a large bite out of the low-end market while smartphones and tablets alter consumer spending. Traditional barriers like price, Windows 8’s poor initial reception and component supply affected the efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultra-slim systems.

Presently, the poor start of Windows 8 has darkened the PC market further. Bob O’Donnell, IDC Program Vice President of Clients and Displays, stated that:“While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs less attractive than to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”

Slowing demand takes its toll

The effects of the sluggish demand coupled with taxing restructuring and reorganising hit HP and Dell, as well as the mid and bottom level vendors. These groups stumble in the dark market, seeking the light switch of rebirth. The white box system builders who currently undergo consolidation are the most vulnerable to the shrinking shipments.

The drop in shipments was expected, but the magnitude of the disparity surprises as much as it disheartens. The industry stands at a pivotal crossroads and strategic choices must be made that will point to a solution enabling PCs to compete with the proliferation of alternative computers, while regaining relevance in consumer opinions. The IDC Research Director of Personal Computing, David Daud, stated in an interview that manufacturers and software developers are not alone in this joint responsibility. Vendors must rethink their organisational structures and revisit their supply chain, product portfolios and destruction in the face of these declines and eventual consolidation. If you own a PC and have been considering one of the alternatives, selling your netbook is enviromentally-friendly and will put some cash in your pocket to use as you desire.

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