Deathwatch: are PCs going to the great skip in the sky?

11 March 2013

Recently, the European Commission hit Microsoft with a huge £459m fine for failing to offer people different browsers when they logged into windows. If that wasn't bad enough, it looks like PCs could vanish altogether.

According to researchers IDC, Windows 8 hasn't been a success for the company and thanks to the rise of other tablets and such, it looks like it is curtains for PCs.

PC sales have been dropping steadily and IDC's forecast sees fewer shipments in the future, with Samsung's president, Jun Dong-soo, backing them up, saying: "The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8. I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform."

Basically, the forecast for PC sales is that there'll be zero-growth in the market over the next four years and, of course, in that time, smartphones and tablet sales are rocketing.

"Emerging market growth potential [for PC purchases] is declining and coming closer to that of mature regions," IDC says. "2012 marked the first year that emerging markets have seen a volume decline, and while 2013 will return to growth, it is projected at less than 1%, and with modest, single-digit growth through [to] 2017."

Netbooks are also dead in the water, so there'll be no hope there, so with Microsoft failing with Windows 8, is there any hope for their future? Some people are pinning their hopes on ultrabooks, but they may be out of the price-range of the people who made PCs so popular over the years. If you want to fork out loads of money on a portable device, your average Joe will probably gravitate toward a luxury brand like Apple. With Android muscling in to every corner, Microsoft are up against it.

TOPICS:   High Street News   Mobile   Gadgets


  • Jokester
    PCs aren't going to go anywhere and tablets/smartphones can't replace them. Smartphones are fantastic - but if you want to do more advanced stuff, you need a PC. I don't really see the need for a tablet though - they can't do as much as a proper smartphone (i.e. proper phone calls and messaging), and they can't do as much as a PC.... a tablet can't replace either device so it's just an extra device to lug around...
  • jimmy
    I can see the roles being reversed with the desktop being a niche item but I can always see a use case for having a powerful, versatile computer where space isn't much of a concern.
  • Liam
    Microsoft should look to do a "Windows Basic" - basically a rehashed Windows 7 with your start key, none of the touch enhancements etc. Then perhaps Surface OS as the touch friendly OS. OK, it's a step backwards, but Windows 8 totally sucks for productivity for basic office tasks.
  • Stu_
    I thought all the gamers had returned to PCs now? I keep hearing about people spending £800 on a graphics card so that they can play Crysis in high def. That sounds to me like consoles are old hat!
  • Ian
    Ridiculous assertion. If it's cuartains for PCs, what do you expect everyone to use instead? Do you really think all business organisations will move their operations to a tablet / smartphone-based infrastructure? I'd imagine that shrinking sales of PCs are more to do with companies being forced to be more thrifty in the face of austerity - job cuts = less personell, e.g. less PCs. Less frequent hardware refreshes. The notion that tablets could replace PCs for high-intensity tasks such as graphic / web design, stock control, process monitoring, etc, when they can barely manage usable word processing, is frankly laughable. Is this a Mof Gimmers parody article, Mof?
  • klingelton
    This article is utter nonsense. it's taking figures and manipulating them to support an assertion that's just plain incorrect. What is more likely true, is that the market is reaching saturation. Firstly, we need to make an assumption, that by saying PC, we're actually talking about a machine with a Microsoft operating system - and that said microsoft operating system is windows 8. We also make the assumption that the term PC is an umbrella term for desktop and laptop machines. Let's examine this in more detail: - there are many people now who have "PCs" whom have purchased them within the last 5 or 6 years. the point is, if you're browsing the web, sending an email or two, or helping little johnny get his maths homework done, a 6 year old pc running windows xp is going to be fine for a basic user. - of those who do need to replace their pc for the aforementioned tasks, a tablet might well do the job for them. They might well choose a more compact device which will do all the tasks as their pc of yesteryear with the added bonus that it makes them look like a prize douche when they get their coffee from CostaNerobucks coffee. - Consider, if you will, that budgets have been tightened at home, and at the business level, meaning that spending on IT is going to be reduced. Home users are making their current IT hardware last that little bit longer. - finally, there is a slight rise in Apple and Linux users. this is only going to affect the launch of a Microsoft product. in summary, the market is shrinking due to several factors, however the market still exists and will continue to exist until such a time when the market is irradicated or technology brings something that will change the way we all live and work. The PC is not dead, as this article claims, it's simply not the beast it once was.
  • chewbacca
    Windows 8 deserves better. Too many retards don't like it because it has no start button. So what? It doesn't need it. If people are too stupid to understand how to adapt to what is a minor change they should fuck off and die. My old laptop boots in less than 15 seconds with win8, win7 took at least a minute. Too many morons in the world.
  • Zleet
    Home computing will move headless not die. Already more people are investing in home servers that run on their networks and this will move to PC's with people being able to access the increased processing power on tablets, tv's and phones when at home.
  • Allan
    Windows 8 Idiot friendly. Windows 7 user friendly.
  • Jeremy
    Not all PC's are infected with Windows. Superior varieties are available.
  • Fat S.
    Mof is an eejit.
  • Dick
    PCs aren't like apple equipment. You don't need to upgrade as soon as the next version comes out becuase otherwise you lose your fashionista street cred. I have a four year old PC, which I built myself from quality components. I reckon it will last me for another 4-6 years, no problem. No need to upgrade the software, no need to upgrade parts. It does it's job fine. There may be better parts available now, but not significantly better that I need to replace existing ones.
  • klingelton
    @Dick, as long as it plays them skin flicks you're interested in eh? sat haunched over your keyboard, ham fisted over "One night in Paris" try selling your pc after 4 years and you will get a pittance for it. I will try selling my mac and get 75% of what I paid for it. point is, mac hardware isn't that much more than pc hardware for a similar spec machine now. I'd rather pay that little extra and retain the resale value after 3-4 years of use.
  • LanceVance
    I like to use a 20 quid machine. Then when it gets full i just throw it away. Shmoke da 'erb.
  • Jokester
    @klingelton No way anyone will buy a 4 year old Mac for 75% of the original price - I know that Apple users love paying way too much, but even they aren't dumb enough to do that! Apple computers still cost a LOT more than equivalent non-Apple computers (macs are PCs too remember).
  • JP
    The PC market peaking isn't really the same as it being on Deathwatch.
  • SP
    What a load of tosh. You're reporting in another article THE SAME DAY that the Surface is a flop, quoting: "Compare this to the 89m PCs and 59m tablets sold worldwide, and it’s a massive turkey." A little bit of journalistic consistency might earn your articles a bit more respect.
  • Kevin
    The expectation that there always needs to be growth is the trouble. Sales at the same level or even a bit down isn't a sign of the end of everything is it.

What do you think?

Your comment