I was listening to the Guardian Tech Weekly podcast this morning while driving to the office after a meeting. I don’t know why I listen to this show any more; the commentators on it are complete dimwits and they make me angrier than news of further banking bailouts.
Anyway … The commentators were proclaiming the death of the PC in favour of the tablet. Hmm, if the likes of these commentators, the Irish Independent, and various other hype fiends were to be believed then it must be so. But the facts would contradict this.
Global PC sales every year are in excess of 300 million. In fact, the Guardian reported that Gartner expected a slow down in growth from 10.5% to 9.3% with just 385 million PCs being sold in 2011. The Guardian says IDC tends to be more conservative with predictions, estimating the figure will be 361.6 million PCs sold in 2011. Oh poor old Microsoft; how will they survive!?!?!
On the tablet front, we all know that Apple rules the roost. Marketwatch reported that Gartner estimates 19.5 million tablets would be sold in 2011. For Apple, that’s absolutely monstrous. But it’s still only 5% of the market, using Gartner figures.
Have PC sales slumped? Dell issued a warning. HP is selling/spinning off their PC division but that’s because they make little margin, not because of it being a loser (they are number one overall in this space). Yes, PC sales are down. But there is always talk of a slump before a Windows release.
We’re facing a Windows 8 release in 2012. People and businesses are not going to buy new Windows 7 PCs now – many of them license using OEM rather than VL or off the shelf. This expected slump is why you heard “the best path to Windows 7 is Windows Vista” from Microsoft a few years ago, and why you’re hearing “the best path to Windows 8 is Windows 7” from them now.
The PC is not dead. Will the shape change? Yes, to some extent. But lets get real. Think about ergonomics; who wants to use a foot-wide tablet on their desk, 8 hours a day, 220 days a year? The big screen, keyboard, and mouse have lasted so long because they work. The tablet plays an additional role and it is very good at it (I do use an iPad), but you wouldn’t see me wanting to use it in the office all day long.
The PC is dead! Long live the PC!
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