PC sales plunge, Windows 8 flops - firm

2013-04-11 09:32
The growth of mobile forced Microsoft to change. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The growth of mobile forced Microsoft to change. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Windows 8 importance

2012-10-29 07:56

Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati chats about the importance of Windows 8 in this YouTube video.WATCH

New York - Microsoft's Windows 8 software appears to be driving buyers away from PCs and toward smartphones and tablets, research firm IDC said on Wednesday. That's leading to the fastest drop in PC sales the firm has ever seen.

Global shipments of PCs fell 14% in the first three months this year, IDC said. That's the sharpest plunge since the firm started tracking the industry in 1994.

The report comes after a year of bad news for the PC. Consumers, especially in wealthy countries like the US, are steering their dollars toward tablets and smartphones rather than upgrading their home PCs. It's the biggest challenge to the personal computer since the IBM PC was released in 1981.

In an attempt to keep the PC relevant, Microsoft released a radical new version of Windows on 26 October. Windows 8 has a completely new look and forces users to learn new ways to control their machines.

"Unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only didn't provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," IDC Vice President Bob O'Donnell said.

Sharp decline

The newest version of Windows is designed to work well with touch sensitive screens, but the displays add to the cost of a PC. Together, the changes and higher prices "have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices", O'Donnell said.

Representatives of Microsoft were not immediately available for comment.

Another research firm, Gartner, reported an 11% decline in PC shipments in the quarter. That, too, is the sharpest decline it's seen since it started tracking the market in 2001.

Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest maker of PCs, saw a 24% drop in shipments in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

China's Lenovo Group, is benefiting from sales to first-time buyers in China and other developing countries. As a result, it held sales steady, alone among the world's top 5 PC makers, according to IDC's figures.

Gartner noted one bright spot: Businesses are buying more PCs, and account for about half of the market.

Both firms track shipments of PCs from the manufacturer rather than retail sales. Shipments correlate closely with sales. The figures include shipments of Apple's Macs, which account for about 5% of the worldwide market.
Read more on:    gartner  |  microsoft  |  technology  |  mobile  |  computing

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