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Will PCs Be Dead and Gone by 2018?
Will PCs Be Dead and Gone by 2018?

By Jennifer LeClaire
March 5, 2014 10:24AM

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Market research firm IDC is forecasting the continued decline of the PC over the next four year, due in part to the impact of slower economic growth, as well as pressure from tablets and smartphones. Despite IDC's gloom and doom predictions, PCs won’t go away altogether, said analyst Roger Kay.
 



Has the gloom finally turned into doom for the PC market? Quarter after quarter, the forecast seems to grow worse. Now, market research firm IDC is predicting shipments will decline another six percent in 2014 and continue sliding through 2018.

Here’s the latest: Worldwide PC shipments dipped 9.8% in 2013. Although that was slightly better than the expected 10.1 percent decline, it’s nevertheless still the worst contraction on record, IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker reports.

Likewise, fourth quarter results were slightly better than expected but the one bright spot -- emerging markets -- is also deteriorating as competition from other devices and economic pressures grow. Stateside and in other mature markets, the slight lift in Windows XP replacements fueled some improvement but IDC doesn’t expect that to last long.

Will Tablets Push Out PCs?

So, then, what’s the big picture? IDC just lowered overall PC growth projections for 2014 by just more than 2 percent. The firm also lowered growth expectations for subsequent years by less than 1 percent. However, the sum total essentially draws a goose egg, with long-term growth just below zero and pushes volumes below 300 million throughout the forecast.

"2014 will remain a challenging year for PC vendors in Asia as a cautious economic outlook means consumers will prioritize device purchases. At the same time, tectonic changes in politics will affect commercial spending in some of the major countries, like India, Indonesia, and Thailand, which are due to hold elections this year," said Andi Handoko, Research Manager for Client Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific. "The region is also seeing a void in public sector spending this year after huge education deals seen in India and Malaysia last year failed to materialize."

For additional analysis, we caught up with Roger Kay, a senior analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates and former IDC analyst. He told us the forecast is reasonable.

“PCs will continue to decline, but they won’t go away. Tablets, phones, and other high-mobility devices won’t replace them entirely,” Kay said. “As Jon Peddie said, ‘A PC is a truck, and sometimes you need a truck.”

Kay is in the camp that expects PCs to evolve and take on more high-mobility characteristics. In fact, he noted, it’s already happening with Intel’s Ultrabooks. But the more truck-like uses -- such as workstations, “anti-mobility” machines for task workers and heavy duty keyboarding -- will be around for a long time.

“OEMs like Lenovo, Dell, and HP are doing their best to reduce their reliance on PCs, though,” Kay said. “Even Microsoft is investing in cloud services, gaming consoles, and other non-PC computing. They’re all struggling to adapt.” (continued...)

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Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Charles:

Posted: 2014-03-06 @ 6:36am PT
A lot of people have been running the same computer for over 10 years. Otherwise they would not be still using XP?

Charles:

Posted: 2014-03-06 @ 6:32am PT
Maybe it is a good thing that there are less desktops. I use my computer to watch TV and movies on the Internet, so no reason for that to be mobile as an HTPC. Some people like mobility and some people like desktop and some people like their smart phones. The other factor is people are basically Cheap. They are unwilling to pay $1500 for just a computer.



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