Rumors of the PC’s death are no longer premature

The death of the PC has been predicted for years. Now it is happening.

As Steve Johnson wrote here earlier today, worldwide PC sales are expected to drop about 10.1 percent in the coming year, according to IDC. People and businesses will still buy replacement PCs, the research firm said, and sales will stabilize. But don’t expect a sector recovery. In 2014, consumer sales should fall by 15 percent, with the commercial market falling by just 5 percent.

Of course, this news seems to confirm the old prognostication that PCs will be extinct. Those who pooh-pooh the idea that a smartphone can be a PC replacement tend to be people who have to sit still and look at a computer screen all day for work, as Matthew Yglesias writes in Slate.   But for non-office workers, a smartphone or a tablet satisfies their digital needs even better than a PC.

But the whole shift to mobile has created rapid upheaval. My household is awash in tablets, e-readers, smartphones. I have emotionally abandoned my desktop; I haven’t been in the room where it sits for a while. And as for my sleek laptop, just a month old, its era seems to have passed too. Many times, finding a flat surface for it and then sitting down to access the Internet is asking too much.

I lack the will to chuck the PCs in my life. My god, they are less than three years old. It’s like killing the young. You want to shout out, “They’ve done nothing wrong!” Yet there will be a household conversation before replacing them. Then, I will have to figure out what to do with the space freed up once the desktop moves out.


At top: Customers look at laptops on sale at a Best Buy on Thanksgiving Day in Alexandria, Va., on Nov. 28, 2013.  EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS



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