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4/11/2013
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PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed

IDC and Gartner report the ailing PC market isn't dead, but has suffered profound change. Microsoft must find the right formula for Windows 8 tablets -- perhaps a smaller model.

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The PC market's historic decline only accelerated during the first quarter of 2013, according to separate reports issued Wednesday by research firms Gartner and IDC. The news tightens the screws on Microsoft, which stands to see its empire threatened if it can't respond to consumers' shifting preference for tablets over PCs. The Redmond, Wash., company is reportedly looking to stem the bleeding by pushing 7-inch Windows 8 tablets. The question, as it has been since the Win8 OS stumbled out of the gate last October, is whether customers want what Microsoft is selling.

The reports don't match on all counts, but both IDC and Gartner agree that global PC shipments in Q1 fell below 80 million units. According to IDC, the performance equates to a 13.9% drop, much worse than the 7.7% decline the firm had expected, and represents the worst year-over-year quarterly decline since it began tracking the segment in 1994. Gartner said the market retreated 11.2%, an estimate that is slightly less bleak than IDC's but nonetheless alarming to those heavily invested in the PC's future. Both reports emphasized that the global market has dropped for four consecutive quarters.

Midway through 2012, analysts had still expected the slumping industry to rebound to modest growth. Attitudes changed late in the fall, however, following consumers' lackluster response to Windows 8 and a brutal holiday season in which tablet purchases far outpaced those of traditional computers. Windows 8 adoption has since stagnated, contributing to recent speculation that Microsoft's dominant position could be in jeopardy. Earlier this month, IDC said that by 2017 Android will be running on more connected devices than Windows, which will be fighting with Apple's platforms for second place. Given that Redmond is accustomed to a market in which 90% of PCs run some version of Windows, the implications of such a shake-up are profound.

[ A smaller tablet isn't the big change consumers are looking for. See Windows 8 Tablets: Why Microsoft Must Slash Prices. ]

The newest round of projections blame a variety of factors for the trouble: the high cost of Windows 8 models; the lack of touchscreen-equipped options that maximize the new OS; consumer dissatisfaction with the Windows 8 interface; and the internal struggles of major PC-makers such as HP and Dell.

"At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," said IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell in a statement.

That's not to say the traditional PC is dead, however. Gartner found that demand among businesses, while not robust in developed regions, actually increased. Without the support of consumers, though, Microsoft could regress into a role player that dominates certain segments, such as government IT sales, but lacks its current industry-wide clout.

In an interview, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said there is still consumer demand for PCs, noting that tablets and smartphones are not equipped for content-creation tasks and lack the large screens that users prefer for certain applications. Even so, she stated that mobile devices cover most users' common Web tasks, meaning the PC, though not obsolete, is less essential.

"If you have three PCs in your household, two of them might be replaced by tablets. Only one of them will be replaced with a new PC," she said.

Given this expectation, it makes sense that Microsoft, according to a Wednesday report in the Wall Street Journal, is readying a 7-inch Surface-branded tablet. Redmond's initial Windows 8 plans contained no mention of these smaller devices. But as products such as the iPad Mini have gained popularity, the company has evidently altered its plans; the Windows 8 certification guidelines were changed to allow lower-resolution screens, for example, and rumors of cheap 7-inch tablets have been raging for weeks, even before the most recent rumors.

IDC analyst David Daoud suggested Windows 8 could still make progress, noting in an interview that supply chain issues with touchscreen components contributed to early troubles. The OS offers little benefit, and potentially much frustration, when installed on a traditional PC, he stated, but users who've purchased touch-enabled equipment "feel the OS meets their needs."

It's a problem, he stated, that "a system designed for touch has been used on hardware not designed for touch."

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Lord_Beavis
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Lord_Beavis,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/30/2013 | 5:39:02 PM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
Windows 8 tablet fix? It's called Ubuntu.
ITUSER
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ITUSER,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/23/2013 | 8:52:43 AM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
In case you didn't notice most of the new stuff is the old stuff from Windows Media Center... now that must of taken them forever to slap it on a new version of windows 7 :(
ITUSER
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ITUSER,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/23/2013 | 8:50:07 AM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
Simply put its terrible and has so many hidden options. No start menu that was some genius that thought to remove the most basic feature. Nothing is organized and it makes no sense! Did an idiot develop it?
How many overpaid executives had input on how it was supposed to work and failed at even basic tasks. HOW DO YOU TURN IT OFF------ ARE YOU KIDDING ME. Was the intent to screw over users at $110 a license? This is why monopolies are bad. Now where do we go with all our Windows based software investment since this software is so terrible. Apple does it better people why are we even talking about this?
mmuldoon52501
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mmuldoon52501,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2013 | 9:50:59 PM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
Plus LibreOffice has a price point of USD0. That's right ZERO. It is also cross platform. So if you decided to pay USD0 (ZERO) for the operating system (think any good Linux distribution here) you get... exactly the same LibreOffice that you had on Windows. Total cost...USD0 (ZERO). Hmmmm that's a USD320 savings!
ANON1248317033621
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ANON1248317033621,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/16/2013 | 4:43:44 AM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
I can see why you gave away those win97 laptops... No support from Microsoft at all!
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
4/15/2013 | 12:37:52 PM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
I am over the age of 55yrs. I would not want a 7" tablet because I like having bigger screen size to view. I wear trifocals, and the bigger the screen, the better for me. I like the fact the a keyboard is part of this Windows Tablet. I also like the fact that the tablet is thin, and a very portable size, about the size of an 8 1/3 X 11" sheet of paper. That makes it an attractive replacement for a laptop. If you are at a home base, a mouse can be plugged into it as well. Nice! The cost is too much! I can by a Laptop of Engineering speed for about the same cost with a Quad core processor and higher Nvidia end video. I still like laptops, so the price will have to go down.
deanmike
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deanmike,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2013 | 2:24:18 AM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
>pay USD120 for a Win8 upgrade and USD200 for a new MSOffice, I will continue to >the MSOffice software I bought 2 years ago for the next 5 years, maybe, unless >comes up with a better alternative by then.

It I called LibreOffice and it isn't a google product.

>Microsoft is stuck in the store bought software price point when the whole world has >shifted to the appstore software price point.

It is more about functionality than price. Lots of people are going to Apple instead
deanmike
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deanmike,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2013 | 2:18:31 AM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
For now...but we had to swallow the XP End Of Life eventually too
renedr
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renedr,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/13/2013 | 1:55:35 PM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
The problem is price point. Android is free and it now dominates the mobile platform. Windows was inexpensive when it came to dominate the PC. OEM bundles back then cost less than USD20. (This was when a PC cost USD1,000). Someone will always be willing to pay extra money for Apple IOS and a cool Macbook Air. The rest of the world isn't willing to pay the extra money. Microsoft has lost its stranglehold and if it doesn't want to lose its no 1 position, it will have to significantly reprice its OS and Apps.

If Windows8 is free and MSOffice basic is free and MSOffice with all the bells and whistles is USD20, then Android will not stand a chance. Consumers have spent a lot of money on their PCs and are not willing to pay USD99.99/year to have MS Office 365. MSoffice has a chance to be the de-facto standard on everyone's desktop and tablets, forever! MS based apps can dominate the applications stores.

I have 4 PCs and had 5 notebooks accumulated over 8 years. I gave three Win97 notebooks away recently. But if I have to pay USD120 for a Win8 upgrade and USD200 for a new MSOffice, I will continue to use the MSOffice software I bought 2 years ago for the next 5 years, maybe, unless Google comes up with a better alternative by then.

I will probably buy a new Win8 notebook this year and I will just reload my old MSOFFICE 2010 Home and Office. I don't have any problems running any version of Windows. But either way, I don't see paying another USD220 for a new MSoffice H/O for a new laptop

Microsoft will have to build an Appstore and Playstore equivalent to enable the tapping into all the MS based development platforms already existing today. If Microsoft can execute on that, then the number of apps on the Appstore and on Play will easily be outnumbered by MS. Imagine every game designed to run on Windows being sold on the MS appstore. Or all the MS applications and all the MS centric Web based applications, database applications, graphics applications, etc. It will take a lot of work to make a MS Appstore that can accomodate the existing software base, but it can be done.

Win 8 is sufficiently similar to Win97, Win98, WinVista and Win7 and the PC's and Tablets of today are far more powerful than the workstations of just a few years ago so compatibility should not be an issue. Downloading the apps is not a problem since 1GB MP4 downloads can easily be done in 2 hours or less with today's typical broadband connections.

I would buy an Adobe Photoshop lite for USD10 from a Microsoft App Store, pay USD10 for Autocad lite, USD2 for a noise reduction image editing s/w, USD2 for a DLNA Video Player, USD5 for Call of Duty VerX, USD2 for Age of Empire, USD2 for Starcraft, etc., etc. etc.

Microsoft is stuck in the store bought software price point when the whole world has shifted to the appstore software price point.

The problem is price point.
AsokAsus
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AsokAsus,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/12/2013 | 1:43:45 AM
re: PC Market Bleeds: Windows 8 Tablet Fix Needed
Steve Jobs called PCs "trucks", which is a much better analogy than sledge-hammer. Commerce needs both trucks and cars. Trucks do the heavy work and cars do the individual people transportation.
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
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