PC Shipments Drop 10% As Windows 10 Looms - InformationWeek

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7/13/2015
11:20 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Commentary
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PC Shipments Drop 10% As Windows 10 Looms

With Windows 10 coming later this month, the PC market is continuing to show signs of slowing down ahead of the launch. Apple, of course, is the exception.

11 PCs Ideal For Windows 10 Upgrades
11 PCs Ideal For Windows 10 Upgrades
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

The global PC market continues to struggle in the weeks leading up to the launch of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system. While worldwide computer shipments totaled 68.4 million in the second quarter of 2015, the number represents nearly a 10% decline, according to new numbers from Gartner.

The latest results from Gartner, released July 9, show that PC shipments fell 9.5% from the second quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of this year. That's the steepest PC shipment decline since the third quarter of 2013.

Overall, PC shipments will decline in total by 4.4% in 2015, Gartner predicts.

IDC, another research firm, doesn't include tablets in its report as Gartner does. This means that IDC found an 11.8% drop, year-on-year, with 66.1 million shipments during the second quarter of 2015.

Gartner believes that there are three major reasons for the drop in shipments, and that they are "temporary inhibitors." Given this postulate, the company thinks the market to go back to "slow and steady growth" in 2016.

The inhibitors include the ending of Windows XP support -- which jacked up PC buying a year ago -- currency fluctuations that increased PC prices, and consumers waiting for the release of Windows 10.

(Image: George Clerk/iStockphoto)

(Image: George Clerk/iStockphoto)

IDC agrees in a general way with the reasons Gartner states for the decline, but disagrees on the Windows 10 effect. Loren Loverde, IDC VP of Worldwide PC Trackers & Forecasting, wrote in a statement: "We're expecting the Windows 10 launch to go relatively well, though many users will opt for a free OS upgrade rather than buying a new PC."

Microsoft will launch Windows 10 on July 29, and the software giant has started to build up some anticipation for the release. This time through, Redmond has released numerous builds of Windows 10 to members of the public and has gone out of its way to make the launch much more inclusive by soliciting feedback from users.

While consumers are the focus of the initial launch, Microsoft and its partners are keeping an eye on what businesses want as well. Many enterprises will likely start any upgrades only in 2016, after numerous rounds of testing.

[Check out the latest build of Windows 10.]

IDC also handles Apple in a different way than Gartner does. IDC analysts don't just dump it in the Other category; they do a separate analysis. That analysis shows Apple taking a different course from the rest of the market.

"[Apple] continued to outperform other vendors, with growth of 16.1% globally," according to the July 9 IDC report. "The vendor has largely avoided the price competition affecting other players and may be benefiting from some of the uncertainty around the launch of Windows 10, along with refreshed products like the 12-inch MacBook and a relative concentration of shipments in the U.S."

IDC and Gartner agree on the relative ranking of PC vendors, however. Lenovo is first at 13.4 million units shipped and a 19.3% marketshare (as reckoned by IDC), followed by HP (12.25M, 18.2%), Dell (9.3M, 14.5%), and with Acer and ASUS tied around 4.5M and 6.4% each. The marketshare numbers were relatively unchanged from 2Q14.

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet ... View Full Bio
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larryloeb
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larryloeb,
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7/28/2015 | 12:40:48 PM
Re: Death rattle of desktops
Maybe even your smartphone will be good enough for most routine things.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
7/28/2015 | 12:04:06 PM
Death rattle of desktops
I think IDC's numbers are a bit more realistic as we see people adopt tablets for day to dat use over larger less portable options such as desktops. As a consumer I might wait a few weeks if a major operating system release was on the horizon but I'm not waiting months so I doubt the slump is due primarily to the pending release. I don't suspect we will see the seath of the sesktop anytime soon, but unless you need the computing power for crunching numbers, modeling simulations, or playing richly detailed games You can get all you need in a much more portable and cheaper option with a tablet.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
7/18/2015 | 7:12:51 AM
Re: Windows 10 - so what?
I think Gartner and IDC count laptops as PCs.

It doesn't have to be a desktop box.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
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7/17/2015 | 11:47:02 PM
Re: Windows 10 - so what?
I think laptops are become more popular.  They take up less space and are as powerful as PCs.  I know for many people who travel, some companies give their employees their own laptops.  Eventhough PC consumption may have decrease, laptops are becoming the main computer at many homes. 
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
7/17/2015 | 3:47:49 PM
Re: Windows 10 - so what?
I see your point, but differ on where the lever arm is.

I think analytics applied to big data in the cloud will be a tipping point.

If you have data , you can visualize it in some manner like a spreadsheet and use that to develop theories and questions.

But what if your analytic servce automatically did data analysis, posited questions for you, and then found the answer to them? It's like he difference between a manual shift and an automatic. Much more quality work could be done,
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
7/16/2015 | 4:38:23 AM
Re: Windows 10 - so what?
@larryloeb, great point about government policy -- the PC or technology in general, is not going to change government policy. And, many of the benefits of technology should not be artificially created through subsidies as it hurts the open market.

The indirect effects of the PC on the economy are positive and it ties into the gains that are hopped to be gained from processes such as, the new industrial revolution and/or information economy. However, these gains are only realized if a newer version of the technology is applied in areas where it is most needed. For instance, in the 1800s increasing the efficiency of a steam engine would result in higher profitability for coal mines that was positive for the economy but, compound a few efficiency gains of the steam engine and immobile steam engines become mobile, opening up a whole world of locomotive transport that created a higher positive effect in the economy.

In the same way, a newer version of the PC would make spreadsheet work, etc., efficient. However, a newer version of the PC with a Windows such as, Windows 10 that is pushing the boundaries of an OS onto mobile devices, the cloud and IoT device (Raspberry Pi 2) could transform the energy sector, healthcare and/or smart cities, etc.   
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
7/15/2015 | 5:11:49 AM
Re: Windows 10 - so what?
There may be a lot fo work to be done; but what can PCs do for it?

A PC won't directly help external economic conditions or change Chinese governmental policy.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
7/15/2015 | 3:46:24 AM
Re: Windows 10 - so what?
PC sales are down and mobile is also not doing too good. Generally, the economy is not too good as GDP growth was at 0.2 percent in the first quarter. Oil prices are still near $50. China's stock market lost $3.2 trillion in a month.

There is a lot of work ahead to be completed and new PCs might be exactly the need of the day.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2015 | 6:53:05 AM
Re: Apple
Yes Apple results were quite interesting. The fact that it saw a reduction in shipped systems and yet increased its market share by a fraction of a per cent isn't a bad turnout for the company. 

I'm not too concerned by the dip in PC sales year on year though. There's going to be a big upswing when Windows 10 eventually launches and the XP support shutdown last year was a big catalst for upgrades. That sort of buy rate isn't going to happen very often. 
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
7/14/2015 | 12:34:46 AM
Re: Apple
Yes, that is correct.

The article was trying to highlight what was going on in "PC" shipments. Apple makes computers and tablets and a lot of phones, but none of them are usually called "PC"s which has come to mean Wintel or Linux boxes.
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