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PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
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mday55401
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mday55401,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/28/2013 | 8:11:39 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Thanks for the even-handed common-sense remarks about the PC. I've been hearing the PC doomsday prophets pontificating about the "death of the PC" at least since I started using one in 1974, and it is way overblown IMO.

It is true that the PC is a mature technology and is not for everyone, so the growth of alternative devices such as the tablet, iphone etc for ordinary services such as emailing, web browsing, and texting are understandable. We obviously don't need a massive box and monitor to do those things.

But I predict that the PC (defined as a machine with a large monitor screen (at least 19 inches, prefer 23 or more), a huge memory of at least 8 gigabytes, and a full-size keyboard that allows FAST typing (not hunt and peck) will be around for many many years to come. Tablets and even laptops without full-size keyboards are great for some things, but not power computing needs that requires the ability to quickly enter data.

And even when the day arrives (which may not be far away) when tablets and smaller devices have the same ability as PC's to power through tons of data quickly, the shortcoming that will always prevent them from replacing the large machine setup (whatever you call it) is the soda-straw size screen and the mickey-mouse keyboard.

Until the age of 3D computing arrives that will allow a mobile device to visually project a full-size keyboard that will allow you to manipulate the keys manually (think the Star Trek NG) as if they were real and you will think they are, AND a 3D projection of a full size screen that will allow you to see as much data as you need to, the machine with a full-size keyboard and screen will remain the only option for power users, period.

I'm typing this at work on a dell laptop mated with a setup that connects to a full-size screen (about 17 inches) and a full size keyboard. No "PC" here, but it proves my point: the big box isn't necessary, even for power computing, but the full-size screen and keyboard are.
gtigerclaw
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gtigerclaw,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/29/2013 | 9:11:23 AM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Most people don't really need a PC if the truth of the matter be told because they simply surf, shop, play games, or social network. A tablet/smartphone would suit their purposes perfectly. However if you're into serious work, you need a PC, big screen, and keyboard.

I sitting here with an ol'damn tower setup in the midst of a mass of tangled wires writing this. I'm more inclined to go your way. I don't really see investing in a tablet because I don't need to be connected all the time - I enjoy smelling the roses, and checking out the world around me when I travel around.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 2:40:16 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Acer already has a 22" tablet on the market and a 27" tablet in the works. Not many years to come for the PC.
jabberwolf
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jabberwolf,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/28/2013 | 10:25:30 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Can someone please explain why the PC market is heading for "rock bottom" in the first place? It seems there is some downward sales for a little bit and everyone screams the sky is falling.

Take a look at Microsoft, Dell and HP - in the last 6 months their stocks have been climbing and PC sales as well. Apple has gone down and continues to fall. Google's chrome book is a resounding flop - but Google's online presence has saved it in the last few weeks of falling.

I think someone has to tell the tech writers to check back on the numbers.
Fill
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Fill,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2013 | 6:37:33 AM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
The economy is recovering a bit and that's why some stocks are recovering, Apple was a bubble, but again it's been a while since an iPhone, iPad or significant Mac had refreshes or since there's been that next new killer product (TV?). Apple by its secretive nature has huge speculation, especially since Jobs died.

Do you really want to look at MS, Dell and HP? They've had a terrible time. I live in a town with major HP campus and things went sour here with layoffs and forced early retirements. Dell is having a potential buyout. MS is panned for a failed Win8 and Surface tablet line.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
5/29/2013 | 3:07:09 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Thank for the comment, jabberwolf. I appreciate you playing devil's advocate, but could you cite the sources for your data? I don't think the sales figures you offered were correct.

Specifically:

HP's stock is way up this year, but the company spent most of last year laying people off and reshuffling its divisions, actions that drove the stock down. HP's PC sales - according to their own earnings, not analyst estimates - have neither "climbed" nor led to the Wall Street gains.

Similarly, Dell enjoyed a stock bounce earlier this year, but that had little to do with PCs; rather, investor interest increased due largely to Michael Dell's buyout proposal, and the possibility that higher prices would encourage better bids. The stock rally actually fell off a cliff as it became clear that the PC market's decline will continue for the foreseeable future. According to Dell's recent earnings, the company has made progress in its enterprise divisions but its PC business was a major reason for profit loss. Dell is diversifying but it's still very reliant on a weak PC market-- that's why the stock DROPPED, not why it briefly surged.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has enjoyed a stock resurgence IN SPITE of Windows 8, not because of it. When Microsoft most recently announced earnings, Windows revenue, once deferred income was removed, was essentially flat. That's not bad, considering how much grief the company received over Windows 8, but given that much of that revenue ostensibly came from Windows 7 migrations, it's not great news either. Wall Street has been more bullish on Microsoft lately, but that's not because of Windows; it's because of Azure, Office 365, and the other multi-billion dollar revenue streams that Redmond recently established.

Apple, meanwhile, is still worth more than just about any other two tech companies COMBINED. "Gone down" seems excessive. Investors probably overvalued Apple when its stock was above $700, but Apple's recent drops have only a little to do with corrective measures by shareholders; a lot of it also has to do with short-term hedges, and the general tendency for investors to hold any given stock for less and less time. Apple has actually weathered the rough PC market better than most PC makers (Lenovo being a notable exception), somewhat supporting Tim Cook's contention that iPads are cannibalizing PCs more than Macs. Apple might experience its first decline in iPad shipments this quarter, but that has a lot to do with refresh cycles and timing, not necessarily a lack of consumer enthusiasm. By the end of the year, Apple will still likely have sold more tablets and computers than it did last year. The tablet market will likely grow faster than Apple does, which will lead to market share losses-- but it's hard to characterize Apple as a company on the way down. And that doesn't even address the potential of new products. If the company scores with a new tech (wearable tech, TVs, whatever), the recent Apple criticisms will look downright myopic.

As for the Chromebook being a flop... well, I think it's been about as successful as could have hoped to be, given that Internet connections aren't ubiquitous enough to make such a cloud-tethered product a real contender. But it's an experiment that points toward the future, and eventually Chromebook-like technology will have a place. Anyhow, the success or failure of Chromebooks has little to do with how Google makes its money, or whether its main OS - Android - ends up, as analysts predict, installed on more machines than Windows by 2017.

Finally, as for a "little bit" of "downward sales," you might have a point. The economy certainly encouraged consumers to consider tablets last year, rather than costly new computers. But there's much more evidence to support a shift in preference toward tablets than to suggest consumers were simply waiting for financial conditions to improve. Indeed, there's evidence that the most affluent customers prefer Apple anyway. It's possible the PC slump won't end up being as severe as people expect, but the decline has been unprecedented in both scope and speed, so while PCs will continue to sell in great numbers, I don't think "little bit" does the phenomenon justice.
DirtyDana
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DirtyDana,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/28/2013 | 10:30:59 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Mday makes the valid points that get left out of these ubiquitious pro-tablet articles I see all over the web.
Nobody wants to talk bout the ergonimic nightmares the mobile devices create. "Text neck" is a new term for a new plague of injuries from having your chin resting on your sternum and your shoulders slumped forward for hours at a time.
Tablets are fun and handy on the go or by the bedside, but working on one for more than 20-30 minutes will take it's toll.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 2:33:47 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
My cover allows the tablet to stand and a bluetooth keyboard works nicely but even without these I have no problem grading student course work or creating course materials. Speech to text works great too and is faster and easier than typing. If you have a tablet you haven't learned how to use it better.
Fill
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Fill,
User Rank: Strategist
5/29/2013 | 4:21:33 AM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
At work we used to have a standard desk set up with monitor, tower, and keyboard/mouse. Once we offered the option for a laptop instead, almost everybody converted over time. Computers also last longer before coming obsolete. Windows 8 has also really put the hurt on the PC corporate market. I think there will be a two niches for the traditional PC set up: the high end, and the low end. The high being things like CAD stations and gamers with money to burn, the low being the budget PCs used in cubical farms and home users who just want to email and surf the web. The in-between will be mobile devices like laptops and tablets.
pbug
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pbug,
User Rank: Strategist
5/30/2013 | 3:15:13 AM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Pads and smartphones have taken SOME of the load, but the biggest reason for PCs selling poorly is Windoze 8 MUTRO, the new version of Windows designed for toddlers and chimps. It's painful for most business or even home use without a touch screen, and it's not productive in an office setting. It's sad, because underneath it's what Win 8 SP2 or SP3 should have been - a bunch of fixes, boot shortcuts, and better Task Manager and Windows Explorer - both long overdue.
If Win 8 SP1 AKA Win 8.1 brings back the Win 7 start menu (leaving the option for those who want it of touching all over the place), then my objections to it will probably be gone. Hopefully MS will let me download 8.1 and install it using the Win 8.0 product key I've already purchased in hope that sanity would eventually prevail.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 2:27:44 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
Win8 hasn't helped but its not the core reason. Consumers prefer smartphones and tablets to which the PC makers and Microsoft are late to the game with questionable products. A Dell Windows 8 Pro tablet is $1,500 compared to an iPad's $700 with a better display and more memory.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
6/3/2013 | 4:44:03 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
I agree with this take. I personally just don't need a new PC, and there's not much Microsoft can do with an operating system to create demand. I didn't see a big difference between XP and Windows 7 (having dodged the Vista bullet), and I probably won't need a new PC until Microsoft comes up with what's next after Windows 8 Blue. I have an 18-month-old tablet, too, and don't see a need for the latest and greatest.

You have to show real value to get people to upgrade. It's time to get real about rampant consumerism. We're not going back to 2006.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
6/3/2013 | 2:20:09 PM
re: PC Market Hasn't Hit Rock Bottom Yet
"tablet prices will drop 11% this year, to $381, and that PC prices will average $635", I think you have the answer as to why PC sales are declining. In addition, businesses are now rolling out virtual desktops with fewer and fewer PCs needed.


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