IDC’s latest report on the PC market (http://epsnews.com/2013/08/30/idc-pc-outlook-further-lowered/) might as well be an obituary. It’s filled with phrases such as “longest market contraction;” “cessation of emerging market growth;” “stubbornly depressed;” and “stagnant inventory.” My brand-new Lenovo froze downloading this release.
I’m not arguing with IDC’s findings. If you’ve shopped for a PC lately you can find one at bargain-basement prices. But few people are shopping for PCs, spending instead on pricey smartphones and tablets with screens smaller than my outdated leather-bound appointment book. The portability and utility of these devices can’t be denied, and I’m not bashing those either. But given a choice between a $500+ iPhone and a $375 notebook computer, I’d normally go for the computer. Except for one thing.
I actually ponied up a lot more than $375 for my current notebook because it came with Windows 7. My PC is my lifeline – I’m self-employed; I have to work quickly, efficiently, find things easily and be my own IT department. I had neither the time nor desire to learn Windows 8 during this transition and it is still on my “when I get around to it” list. I might get a Windows phone to learn Windows 8, but that’s because I have two other phones I can use when I lose patience with Windows.
In fact, IDC’s biggest hope for the PC market is as follows:
"Following the stronger than expected 2Q13, we expect the second half of 2013 to restore some volume momentum driven largely by better channel involvement of top vendors and industry restructuring/alignment. We also anticipate operating system migration (Window XP to 7) will drive some volume in the commercial segment. Entry-level ultraslim systems and lower-priced convertibles will also be bright spots in an otherwise still troubled consumer market."
The PC market is not suffering from a price/performance problem – you can get a decent PC at a really good price. It is suffering from a time/place/utility problem. For those of us in the small business world as well as those business users migrating from XP, there is nothing about Windows 8 that will make our lives easier. I’m not sure how the PC market and Windows contracts work, but PC manufacturers should have held onto Windows 7 a bit longer or given consumers a choice. The PC market might have avoided this particular hit.