The PC world: Woe for the holidays, few signs of cheer for future

A couple of reports about PCs and the challenges they face:

• Woe for the holidays: Worldwide shipments of personal computers fell in the fourth quarter  for the first time in five years, IDC said Thursday. Its analysts blamed demand for tablets and smartphones. The research firm also said the 352 million PCs shipped in 2012 represented a 3.2 percent drop from 2011, the first year-over-year decline since 2001.

Still, “some leading brands managed do to well relative to the market. HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Samsung were among the top performers, taking advantage of some consumer interest in Windows 8, and a push to build up their presence ahead of 2013,” said David Daoud of IDC in in its press release.

IDC’s numbers showed that Hewlett-Packard remained the world’s top PC maker in the fourth quarter, with 16.7 percent market share. No. 2 Lenovo had 15.7 percent and No. 3 Dell had 10.6 percent.

On a mixed day for tech stocks, shares of HP are down more than 1.75 percent to $15.98 as of this post. Dell shares are down more than 1.5 percent to $10.86.

• Also, research firm Canalys predicted the continued decline of Windows PCs and Intel chips amid the rise of smartphones and tablets.  Its numbers: Wintel machines’ market share will drop to 65 percent in 2013, from 72 percent in 2012. It predicts that tablets will reach 59 percent of the market by 2016.

By the way, the Merc’s Troy Wolverton this week wrote about Intel’s mobile efforts. An Intel executive told him that there are now six smartphones and 10 tablets shipping that have Intel chips inside — compared with zero phones last year, Wolverton points out.


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  • dermbuilder

    It looks like at some point the only people buying PCs will be those
    who actually need them. Take myself for instance, a smartphone
    or tablet computer couldn’t even begin to meet my needs, I need
    hundreds of gigs of storage and a full size keyboard as well as a
    DVD burner drive, and I certainly need USB ports. All things that
    my laptop has, but no tablet offers, or probably ever will. If all that
    you use a computer for is web surfing and email, then you don’t
    really need a full computer. But no one is ever going to do the
    accounting for a Fortune 500 corporation, or write a novel, or do the
    CGI for a major motion picture on a tablet!

    Its the same reason why they make both 10 ton dump trucks and
    1/2 ton pickup trucks, not everyone needs the heavy duty model.

  • sd

    >>> “But no one is ever going to do the
    accounting for a Fortune 500 corporation, or write a novel, or do the
    CGI for a major motion picture on a tablet!” <<<

    That's exactly what they said about personal computers 30 years ago. And laptop computers maybe 15-20 years ago. And now, of course, doing any of those things on PCs is not at all unusual.

    Current tablets have input/output limitations that some people believe are showstoppers. You are one. I am another — my wife's iPad is perfect for her but what it would do to my workflow and my needs would drive me nuts. But to think tablets won't get there in a while … well, let's just say I wouldn't bet big against them.

  • dermbuilder

    I agree sd, the only thing is, if these capabilities are added to tablets, would anyone still call the resulting device a tablet. It seems like tablets, at least for the moment are defined by their limitations. I would never consider buying an iPad unless they added a couple of USB sockets, much more storage, a 64 bit multicore processor, some sort of tactile feedback keyboard and a way to play DVD movies. But, wait, my $400 laptop already has all of that.