A slowing world economy and a shift to tablets has meant organizations and consumers aren’t buying PCs the way they used to, the latest computer sales data from IDC suggests.
The figures, released Wednesday show worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter of this year were down 13.9 per cent compared to the same quarter a year ago. That’s worse than the expected drop of 7.7 per cent.
“The extent of the year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994,” the company said. “The results also marked the fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines.
Normally the industry gets a jump when Microsoft Corp. releases a new version of Windows. But Windows 8, with its new interface that mirrors the tile interface on Win8 tablets and smartphones, is one of the factors blamed on slowing sales.
“While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market.”
“The PC industry is struggling to identify innovations that differentiate PCs from other products and inspire consumers to buy, and instead is meeting significant resistance to changes perceived as cumbersome or costly.”
The U.S. market had another dismal quarter in 1Q13, contracting -12.7% year on year, with a drop of -18.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. With total volume falling to 14.2 million, quarterly shipments reached their lowest level since the first quarter of 2006. With this latest figure, the U.S. is now in its tenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year contraction (excluding a brief moment of growth – less than 2% year on year – in 3Q11).
Commentators had a field day pouring over the numbers. Computerworld U.S.’s Jonny Evans – who writes about Apple — said Microsoft has signed its death warrant if reports are true that the company will bring its Office suite to the iPad only in 2014. That late, he wrote, makes the company look out of touch.