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Wed 28 Jan 2015 04:24 PM

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Time to say goodbye to the PC?

Mounting losses and dwindling sales have hit the popular device

Time to say goodbye to the PC?
Shane McGinley

Half way through last year ITP Publishing, owners of Arabian Business, began upgrading the computer systems in some of the departments. The interesting thing was it opted for laptops instead of the standard bulky PCs we are used to seeing in offices around the country.

Around the same time, analysts were predicting that the slump in the PC market was coming to an end and it would make a comeback. Intel was claiming that sales to business PC customers helped it drive growth in the second quarter of 2014. It said its PC unit posted a 41 percent rise in operating profit to $3.73 billion, as researcher IDC said global PC shipments fell by only 1.7 percent in the quarter, marking the smallest decrease since 2012.

However, with the onset of 2015 this appears to have been a blimp and the death knoll for the PC seems to be getting louder.

This week, Microsoft suffered a dip in quarterly profit as PC shipments continued to fall, reporting $5.86 billion in profit for Q4, compared with $6.56 billion, in Q4 2013.

At the same time, Intel, who was so upbeat last year, this month announced that revenue from its PC business fell about 3 percent to $8.9 billion in the fourth quarter from the prior quarter.

Intel is still saying it is confident of a recovery, but it is sounding to look a lot like hot air. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, Intel’s main rival, reported a 22 percent fall in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $364 million.

So what is happening? Well it seems the PC is simply no longer trendy for the new generation. In research quoted by PC Mag on the topic, it was found that PC usage was the lowest among users aged 12-23. It seems this age bracket prefers to use smartphones as their primary digital device and use their handheld units for email, music and videos. PCs are only used for school or work.

How long before the PC goes the way of the landline or the fax and is reduced to being a museum piece?

Buddy 4 years ago

I think Windows 8 is the cause of the big drop. If they still had Windows 7 shipped on the PC's, their sales would be much better, and perhaps there would be even a growth.
I am waiting for Windows 10, and if it is like Windows 7, than I buy myself a new all-in-one desktop from HP. And if Windows 10 user interface is closer to Windows 8, I will move to Apple...

Ritchie 4 years ago

what do you mean "has been a blimp"?! full of hot air and floating away?

Expat in UAE 4 years ago

Windows 8 is the biggest mistake by M$ since Windows ME

I HATE IT !

JCR 4 years ago

Hi Shane, I think you are a little bit confused here, a laptop running window (or other OS) is still a PC, you are referring to Desktops.
While you are totally right that sale figures for desktops are in a trend to descend, you are mixing some facts and figures in the PC market...
1) PC (desktops and laptops) are indeed under a lot of pressure, simply because smartphones are becoming the entry device for million of people to the internet.
2) Tablets were seen as another threat, but actually they are NOT substituting PCs, many experts point out that they will dissapear, indeed the future seems to be PCs becoming leaner and integrating with tablets (i.e. hybrids), a clear example is the Surface Pro 3 or the Lenovo and Azuz range of new hybrids; and smartphones becoming bigger (i.e. phablets)...Few years ago the ex-CEO of Blackberry said that and everyone thought it was crazy, apparently he seem to be right... http://www.techhive.com/article/2036830/blackberry-ceo-says-tablets-are-doomed