Research firm: PC sales plunge as Windows 8 flops


In this Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, file photo, a woman walks past laptop computers running Microsoft Windows 8 operating system during its launching ceremony in Hong Kong. Research firm IDC says PC global shipments of PCs fell 14 percent in the first three months this year. The appeal of tablets and smartphones is pulling money away from PC sales, but it also blames Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, which forces users to learn new ways to control their machines. AP FILE PHOTO/Kin Cheung

SAN FRANCISCO — Two somber new reports show unprecedented declines in desktop and laptop sales during the first three months of the year — signs that the personal computer market may never fully recover from a new generation of mobile devices.

And it appears that a makeover of Microsoft’s Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released in October.

“This is horrific news for PCs,” said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis. “It’s all about mobile computing now.”

First-quarter shipments of PCs fell 14 percent from the same time last year, according to International Data Corp. That’s the deepest quarterly drop since the firm started tracking the industry in 1994. Another research firm, Gartner Inc., pegged the first-quarter decline at 11 percent.

The deviation stemmed from the firms’ slightly different definitions of PCs.

This is the worst shape the PC market has been in since IBM Corp. released a desktop machine in 1981.

In an attempt to keep the PC relevant, Microsoft released a radical new version of Windows last fall. Windows 8 has a new look that’s similar to the design of the software running the most popular smartphones and tablet computers. The overhaul requires a relearning process, a leap that many consumers and corporate buyers aren’t ready to take.

All signs so far point to Windows 8 being a flop.

“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.

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 Corp. were not immediately available for comment.

IDC’s count excludes tablets, even if they run PC-style software. It also excludes any device that has a detachable keyboard. With the release of Windows 8, PC makers have been reviving their experiments with tablet-laptop hybrids, some of which have detachable keyboards. Consumers are likely to have shifted some of their buying away from traditional laptops and toward these new devices, which means that the total sales decline of Windows-based devices may not be quite as drastic as IDC’s numbers suggest.

Microsoft shares fell 63 cents, or two percent, to $29.65 in extended trading, after the release of the report. It had gained 67 cents in regular trading.

Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s largest maker of PCs, saw a 24 percent drop in shipments in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago. The industry’s No. 2, 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.

HP shares fell 60 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $21.72 in extended trading. They had risen 10 cents in regular trading.

Shares of Intel Corp., which makes four out of five PC processors, fell 27 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $21.99, after rising 51 cents in regular trading.

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

In total, IDC put the global PC shipments at 76.3 million in the quarter, while Gartner put the figure at 79.2 million. The shipments are still higher than they were four years ago, during the recession.

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 percent of the worldwide market.

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  • brix villapando

    HE HE di ko na papalitan ang windows 7 ko

  • WeAry_Bat

    MS needs to leapfrog the business and consumer experience with something more better.

    The landscape of handhelds which they held before (and in high prices) seems to be lost ground of more friendly and cheaper devices.

    • The Enforcer

      Please rewrite that in intelligible English.

  • GProf007

    As much as I do not want to… but the PC market will be tied to Microsoft due to its operating system… unfortunate for the PC market Microsoft do not understand what is happening and they still believe everything is about them and they can dictate upon consumers.

    I think Microsoft needs to re-haul it’s management team or at least have a new CEO (replace Steve Balmer)… maybe new leadership / vision and understanding of the new mobile world will help the PC market as a whole.

    If this continues… somewhere down the road… Google with its Chrome OS will rule… especially if development tools (SDK’s for different dev needs) be made available and run on it.

    I wish I can do database programming and serious game development on my Android tablet hehe… right now that is but a dream since I still am using my PC with Windows OS for it.

  • Matt Smith

    intel needs to make it’s own OS. Micros*ft doesn’t seam to realize business can’t be done with tablets and cell phones. Seams like Redmond had it’s own little party without gates…

  • Bulagas



    • Edward Mendoza

      windows 8 ginamit q s unit nakakabuwisit.kapag magdownload aq ng pdf at babasahin q naku natatakpan nya lahat ng naunang binuksan q…( hindi user-friendly)…hindi tulad ng windows7 minimize q lng ung file na babasahin q habang nakamonitor o nag streaming aq…buti nlng ung hp phoenix for gaming q d q in upgrade to windows8 khit 14USD lng ang babayaran q o libre pa courtesy of hp..

      • GProf007

        I also find that annoying… I normally just right click on the file and just load it using my PDF reader. I guess ginawa kasi ni Microsoft na tulad sa isang tablet na covered yung buong screen… I guess if they are trying to “pitch” to consumers na “hybrid” sila then sana binago nila yung pag-implement ng pag-launch ng mga screens. Medyo frustrating nga yung Windows 8 kasi parang trying hard na maging “tablet” style na PC… in a way parang hindi nya alam kung ano ba sya hehe.

    • dotCommer64

      You dont understand business and technology. Windows is a “Business” machine, how can it be crappy or old? its a the world’s business platform, its not designed to be “hip” like Apple or Android, Windows 8 is trying to be “hip” which is a bad business decision.

      If you just want FB or download music, just use your android phone, but if your going to do business stuff like writing document or report, you do it on a PC. I havent seen anyone writing reports on a Tablet, much less a Phone.

      They should bring back that “Start”, whoever decided to remove “Start” should be fired. They had alienated billion of long time PC users, i used Windows since WIn95 but this Win8 is totally foreign, i cant do even simple stuff like opening the Control Panel. Its a big turn off, just like me being turned off with Mac OS.. the first 10 minutes in using a new OS is critical.

      • Bulagas

        i wrote using my mac air? what you talking about

      • The Enforcer

        Mac is for posers, wannabees.

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