Windows PC Shipments Decline: Windows 8 Not Saving PC Industry

16 January 2013, 3:51 pm EST By Vamien McKalin email: Mobile & Apps

Things are not looking so good for Windows 8 and Microsoft as PC shipments declined in Q4 2011. The decline in shipments is due to the rising tablet popularity for casual use, so a PC is no longer 100 percent needed in the home.

According to Gartner, the fourth quarter saw PC sales falling by 4.9 percent despite Lenovo and ASUS managing to grow their respective PC shipments by 8.2 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively. The once top PC OEM, Dell, saw its shipments fall by a massive 20.9 percent, a huge setback for a company that is trying to regain lost market share from HP and Lenovo.

Consumers are no longer showing much interest towards PCs because most casual tasks can be done easily on a tablet. The fact of the matter is, only people who do a lot of advanced PC tasks require a desktop these days as a majority of computer users mainly visit social networking sites along with browsing the Internet. As long as the Web browser is able to perform optimally, tablet users have no need to upgrade to a new PC.

"Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by 'cannibalizing' PC sales, but by causing PC users to shift consumption to tablets rather than replacing older PCs," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC. There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet."

Another factor that could be causing this decline in shipments is price. Tablets are cheap and exciting, whereas PCs with Windows 8 inside are expensive. The new and upcoming Windows 8 tablet device that can also be transformed into a laptop, may garner interest; however, the prices are too high for those who are not too interested in using Adobe Photoshop and only want to check their status on Facebook or tweet the night away.

For Windows 8 to be successful, the device's asking prices much match that of Android tablets and the cheapest iPad, while still delivering great performance and battery life. With Intel-based Ultrabooks being expensive and unable to deliver the required battery life as of now, Windows 8 is gearing for an uphill battle that could cause more bad than good.

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