Windows 8, Tablets Blamed For Record Drop In PC Sales

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Windows 8, Tablets Blamed For Record Drop In PC Sales

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Quarterly computer sales are down 14 percent. The culprit? Microsoft's latest operating system.

In sad news for the computer industry, market research firm IDC has released its latest tally of PC sales for the first quarter of 2013 which demonstrate a 14 percent decline in the number of computers sold during the period. This marks the largest drop since IDC began tracking these figures in 1994.

While there are a number of reasons for the waning sales, IDC pins the majority of the blame on the much-maligned Windows 8 operating system. "At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," states IDC vice president of clients and displays Bob O'Donnell.

According to IDC, Lenovo was the only manufacturer to report year-on-year growth, while HP, Dell and Toshiba all reported declines.

Intriguingly, IDC's report even includes Apple's computers, and while its decline was less severe than other firms, it too saw a dip in sales of both desktops and laptop computers.

Obviously Apple isn't affected by the introduction of Windows 8, so what gives? Beyond the failure of Microsoft's latest OS, IDC believes that consumers are increasingly opting for tablets for their computing needs. This makes sense, as almost any modern tablet has enough horsepower and functionality to take care of the majority of most people's computing needs. It's only when you want to play videogames or render media that you really need a powerful computer to get the job done. Combine that with unrivaled portability, and it seems clear why this decline in computer sales is so drastic.

Source: IDC

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All that cheep Chinese labor and experienced programing won't help if you run your OS like fucking Scrooge McDuck.

Well given that you can get around win 8 by building your own box or ordering a new computer from Dell with 7 installed I think this will get sorted.

I'm wondering if the PC as a gaming platform will survive the loss of the PC as the default home computing system.

It would be interesting to see what the old desktop machine+monitor+keyboard+mouse setup would evolve into, if only a few million gamers would keep them out of tradition.

DVS BSTrD:
All that cheep Chinese labor and experienced programing won't help if you run your OS like fucking Scrooge McDuck.

I'd say that's an insult to the McDucks!

MSoft have dropped made an enormous balls up with Win 8. When throwing away more than two decades of familiarity you better have a really, really perfect, unobtrusive, flexible and above all intuitive interface to show to customers. Windows 8's default desktop being none of those things, they've rather shot themselves in the foot. Can't wait to see what Service Pack 1 (sorry 'Blue') brings.

I really want to meet whoever decided that forcing a PC to use a tablet-like UI was a good idea.

Well, I know I won't be getting the new Win8. No chance. And I'm glad the consumer agrees with me.

Nothing wrong with Win7. I love that one. It's like a slick, modernized XP. No idea why they even had to crank out a new one this soon again.

When you've got a PC that can play games and run apps very well, and there's nothing being released that really requires you to make you upgrade like what was seen five to seven years ago, of course PC sales are going to drop. Why go to new hardware when your current hardware is able to perform the necessary tasks without any serious hiccups?

EDIT: Now would be a good time for Google to get Android to scale and run on PCs. A cross-platform OS that scales to the device it is installed on could very well be the thing that might kill Microsoft.

The thing about Windows 8 is that the majority of computer users have no idea what an operating system even is. Opting for tablets (and to an extent also smartphones) is much more likely to be the culprit...I know I'll never buy another laptop as long as I've got my Galaxy S3 or whatever next thing. Didn't stop me from upgrading most of my desktop and putting Windows 8 on it though.

Dr.Awkward:
When you've got a PC that can play games and run apps very well, and there's nothing being released that really requires you to make you upgrade like what was seen five to seven years ago, of course PC sales are going to drop.

Also this. Software requirements aren't accelerating as fast as they used to relative to computing power available so older hardware is taking much longer to become obsolete. Unless you're gaming or modelling a Pentium 4 and a gig of RAM will run anything you want it to.

Yikes. Is Windows 8 really that bad? I may be getting a gaming PC this summer, so I don't know whether or not to just go for Windows 7. Suggestions?

The:
Yikes. Is Windows 8 really that bad? I may be getting a gaming PC this summer, so I don't know whether or not to just go for Windows 7. Suggestions?

There is absolutely no reason to have Win8 on a desktop PC.

It was all planned to make people convert from PC Gaming to the Nextbox /conspiracy

The:
Yikes. Is Windows 8 really that bad? I may be getting a gaming PC this summer, so I don't know whether or not to just go for Windows 7. Suggestions?

No...in fact it's one of the best Windows releases I've ever encountered (at least from a stability standpoint). People are just mad that it has a new start menu and don't want to adjust to something slightly different (even though it's easily replaceable).

Just a question but how many people on the escapist actually own an OEM PC? because to be honest everyone I know either assembles their own or gets one from a one-man-shop which wouldn't be on sales figures anyway. Hell I've never bought a PC from an OEM even my grandparents always bought from those little computer shops that self assembled.

I know that it's anecdotal but I grew up always hearing about how terrible OEM customer service was and how much a rip-off they are. So really outside of business sales I wonder how much HP or Dell sales really mean inregards to PC gaming.

Actually, they're really trying to push 8. To give you an idea how much they are trying, they have set up a small stand at my college dining hall to showcase a laptop and tablet running Windows 8 and Surface. I have to snicker every time I see it though, and more people are interested in the free sunglasses than the OS itself. (Now I'm thinking about reserving a small table and bringing over my Ubuntu laptop over, and to see how many more would be impressed by the Linux distros...)

They've only done this before at this college once iirc, and that was about six months ago. Before that, there was no advertising that I know of for Windows 7 or Vista, aside from the laptop displays at the bookstore.

The:
Yikes. Is Windows 8 really that bad? I may be getting a gaming PC this summer, so I don't know whether or not to just go for Windows 7. Suggestions?

I just bought a new laptop myself, and specified Windows 7, never considered the alternative.

And no Windows 8 isn't actually BAD, and may be very stable, it just offers no benefit for a conventional PC, has worse games compatibility than Win7, and has a whole new interface to learn, which is designed for touchscreens and poorly optimised for Mouse and Keyboard.

Basically if you have the choice, get Windows 7

Alfador_VII:

The:
Yikes. Is Windows 8 really that bad? I may be getting a gaming PC this summer, so I don't know whether or not to just go for Windows 7. Suggestions?

I just bought a new laptop myself, and specified Windows 7, never considered the alternative.

And no Windows 8 isn't actually BAD, and may be very stable, it just offers no benefit for a conventional PC, has worse games compatibility than Win7, and has a whole new interface to learn, which is designed for touchscreens and poorly optimised for Mouse and Keyboard.

Basically if you have the choice, get Windows 7

"has worse games compatibility than Win7"

This is a lie stop spreading FUD, Windows 8 is fine it's a more stable windows 7 with a homescreen and no start button.

For someone who only needs a computer to check their email and browse the internet, maybe facebook or do some online shopping, then there's absolutely no reason to have a bulky desktop PC compared to the more more portable tablets now available. The majority of people I know are like that.

If someone is shopping for a desktop computer that probably means they need it for something more demanding, whether that be work or editing or indeed gaming. Windows 8 however? Not particularly good at any of that. Oh it'll work just fine once you've got it figured out, but I daresay the majority don't want to have to bother figuring it out. Easier to just stick with an older computer and older operating system, especially as there haven't been any real leaps in technology lately.

Hell, where I work still runs windows XP on all its computers.

I don't get the hate for win8, I don't. I have it, I got it for freaking 15 dollars and it's a fine OS. Every new OS gets a new series of whining people complaining an icon is out of place.
Missing startbar in 8? You put your mouse in the SAME SPOT and it pulls up the task window or whatever it's called. Control panel is hard to find? Win+x click on control panel done. Change is bad, change is bad! Go have a look at windows 3.11 and tell me we shouldn't have kept the same ideas going.

Dr.Awkward:
EDIT: Now would be a good time for Google to get Android to scale and run on PCs. A cross-platform OS that scales to the device it is installed on could very well be the thing that might kill Microsoft.

One OS for every form factor is already killing Microsoft. It's called "Windows 8".

If Microsoft ever decides it wants to go crusading with Win 8 and completely can 7, then I'm going Ubuntu full time. The only reason I haven't already is because Win 7 is as good as it is.

Well, doesn't surprise me one bit.
I work in the electrical department of a large supermarket (next to a major airport no less) and since Win8 launched sales of laptops have more than halved in our store. In one week alone I lost at least three customers simply because I had no Win7 machines to offer them - in one case, they just hated the interface even after I spent half an hour explaining how it worked, and the other two because MS decided to rip out the ability to play DVDs without paying extra because apparently people "don't care about that".

I havn't the faintest idea what microsoft was thinking... well actually, yes I do. I think they're running terrified at the prospect that people are moving en-masse to a platform that doesn't generate them money. Consequently, they're doing their best to milk people of all the money possible (see: Win8 Store, Office 365, etc) before they go under. To borrow an excellent metaphor from Yahtzee, "Microsoft is like a chef on the Titanic who, seeing the looming iceberg, figures ice is the future and starts serving ice cream." (except that in MS' case the ice is infact touchscreens and the ice cream is Win8)

But on a serious note, the idea of making a single OS or at least interface across all platforms is not a bad one - having a consistent brand image and instant familiarity across platforms is not a bad thing, indeed, it can work well. The problem is that different platforms are not the same and need different optimisations... Google and Apple both understand this - they have two OSs a piece, ChromeOS and MacOSX for their laptops and desktops contrasting with Android and iOS for their touchscreen devices. Desktops and laptops are not and never will be the same as tablets because their primary interface and form-factors are totally different. An interface optimised for touchscreens will inevitably not work as well on a keyboard/mouse setup, and I can confirm that it absolutely does not in this case.

Win8 is not actually very competently executed in the first place... for a start having two almost entirely seperate sections of the OS is not intuitive... why can I not manage things related to the Start Screen from the Control Panel, and Desktop (or "Legacy" in MS parlance) settings and programs from the Start Screen's "Settings" panel? Not to mention that actually -finding- the control panel is not exactly straight forward... and WHY IS THE POWER BUTTON INSIDE SETTINGS? Jeez....
The Start Screen is ugly, the "live tiles" are extremely annoying (yes, I know they can be disabled, but why have something annoying as a major selling point?)
Charm bar is counter-intuitive... why have a Search charm when the App in question doesn't support it and will just inform me that Search is not supported?
And as for the Win8 Store, I have a funny feeling that in Win9 (if there ever is one) that "Legacy" programs will magically no longer be supported.
and who thought it was a good idea to remove the ability to play DVDs? Seriously, PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THAT SORTA THING.

Enough ranting on my part though - suffice to say, if it weren't already obvious, I am not a fan of Windows 8.
I would never, ever recommend Windows 8 on a non-touchscreen device for any purpose. Unfortunately, I cannot escape that due to my job, but if I had the choice, I wouldn't. I certainly do my best to steer them to the Touchscreen ones we do sell. I will say for Win8 that on an actual touchscreen device, it's not too bad... the Desktop portion of the OS is rather clunky to use then, but the Start Screen and Win8 Apps do work well. I just wish that they'd kept the two parts seperated... then they'd have had a chance. Together, they're a trainwreck, touchscreen or no.

Windows 8, or how Microsoft doesn't know the difference between tablets and computers any more.

Because, you know, there's not a recession still going on. The bad sales of PCs MUST be because of Windows 8.

I bought two new computers last year, one for myself and the other for my full-time-lady-friend, both with Windows 7 even though 8 was available. I saw no reason to fork out more money for an OS that provides no benefit over 7 for a gaming machine.

I have Windows 8 (When I pre-built my computer in December at Fry's, they threw in the OS as a bonus). It was tricky to figure out at the start, but works just fine for me now. I still haven't found anything it does that Windows 7 didn't do, since I don't use a freaking touch screen, but it does its job.

Entitled:
I'm wondering if the PC as a gaming platform will survive the loss of the PC as the default home computing system.

It would be interesting to see what the old desktop machine+monitor+keyboard+mouse setup would evolve into, if only a few million gamers would keep them out of tradition.

I think gaming and high end professional use are the only two areas the PC will survive long term.

Rather like horses, mechanical watches, tailored clothes and such, it'll become the market of the hobbyist and the specialist rather than the masses.

The amount of power and freedom/flexibility PC gamers always want mean the market won't go away, whilst things like MMOs, RTS and mil-sims are stubbornly PC gamer centric. I think relative prices will go up a bit and the advance of high end GPUs will slow down a bit (but not a lot), but the development of high end 'gamer' stuff (and design, animation, FEA) is too valuable in terms of trickle down technology for the big hardware companies to abandon it completely.

People who don't know what GPU, TIM and OC mean will be the ones who see the most change, I expect gaming PCs to stay stubbornly as they are, but faster.

I would actually like to know where the idea that windows8 is terrible is coming from.

My computer's been incredibly stable and smooth since I upgraded to it in January. :/

I actually seem to like the metro-screen, too, especially since I downloaded decor8 to put a wallpaper on it.

Well, when the day comes that I need to write code on a 10 inch tablet with an onscreen keyboard is the day I give up working. I have two 24 inch monitors and at least 10+ tabs open while I'm working, plus I require near concurrent access to email and different chat applications. The tablet or phone would be a miserable experience for this.

The issue with tablets and phones is they are controller consumer experience. People are consuming media on them, but nothing is being created on them. When people start writing their 50 page academic theses on small ass tablets with 6 hour battery lives then we can talk about the decline of PC.

IMO the PC will persist as a workstation, because there just isn't much that can compete with it at the moment.

@Shia-Neko-Chan

Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion... if you like it, fine, and you're certainly not the only one who does (I think that Win8 now has something like 3-4% market share worldwide), but many people just don't see the point. It adds nothing tangibley useful to your standard Laptop or Desktop experience... the market it is primarily aimed at are also the ones least likely to use it because, frankly, they already have better alternatives.

It's a solution without a problem.

I suppose Microsoft should be proud, as they've now got people defending their new OS as rabidly as anyone used to defend Apple, back when it needed defending.

It's fine if you enjoy the new OS (and as has been noted, some folks really aren't impacted by it), but don't dismiss the valid concerns of experienced power users who simply feel it's a step in the wrong direction.

A quick Googling will show you that it's not just the lack of a Start menu (easily replaced with a free mod like Classic Shell, love it), but more substantial things like native Metro (even though that word has been stricken from all Microsoftspeak) apps requiring the full screen, or that the Start menu is now a start screen. The fixation on things occupying the entirety of the desktop is bizarre and out of place on a desktop OS. While there are certain things I do want taking up my entire screen on a 27" monitor, most applications don't fall into that category.

Yes, I know I can just run it in Desktop mode, yes I know I can run non-Metro apps in windows still (or buy yet another mod that lets you run Metro apps in actual windows). All that does is beg the question why they've bolted a mobile, small touchscreen-centric OS onto what was a perfectly fine prior OS. It also functions very wonky when dealing with multiple monitor setups, especially when you have to fool with the various hot-corner context menus. Again, fine for a mobile OS, really out of place on a desktop.

Of course, this isn't only why PCs aren't selling, and it kind of baffles me when I see some of the conclusions people draw from lower PC sales. Given that most folks sure don't have more money floating around in recent years than they did years prior, and they've got more choices when it comes to technology, they're going to have to pick and choose. If you bought a PC three years ago, your average consumer (or heck, even your average gamer, mine still handles new games just fine) might buy a new tablet or a smartphone instead, or put that money towards something else entirely. No one has stopped using PCs that used to use them extensively, but they've definitely spread out certain PC habits across multiple devices.

It's also a little deceptive when they talk about time spent on mobile or tablet devices, since often those are minutes or hours you'd never have spent on a PC in the first place (on the train, in bed, ignoring the family at dinner, etc.)

I'd say its more that PC's have a longer shelf life than tablets do, while they are often replaced within a few years a PC is still capable for 7+ years, so as long as the hardware functions the PC will work. For basic tasks my old P4 would work fine (if it still worked), where as tablets are still catching up to the desktop. Also tablets often supplement a PC, not replace them.

mattaui:
*snip*

All of this as well, very well written Mattaui and quite true.

I guess I'm in the minority here, because I genuinely enjoy Windows 8, even on a non-touch pc.

I think a lot of the negative reviews are based on people resisting change and not liking the new start menu (screen), and not on functionality or performance. It does the same stuff, people!

Makes sense to me.

My cousin goes to a school where instead of a big room full of PC's they all have to have tablets and do probably 90% of their work on those. Pretty clever.

Alfador_VII:
And no Windows 8 isn't actually BAD, and may be very stable, it just offers no benefit for a conventional PC, has worse games compatibility than Win7, and has a whole new interface to learn, which is designed for touchscreens and poorly optimised for Mouse and Keyboard.

Lies. Windows 8 runs everything Windows 7 does with no problems. Occasionally you may need to tell something to run in compatibility mode but nothing more than that.

The new interface is in fact very well optimised for mouse and keyboard. Being touch optimised dos not prevent this.

Here is a blog article where a MS developer responds to many common criticisms of the start screen.

Here is another detailing the search functionality of Windows 8 and how it is optimised for keyboard input.

OT: Windows 8 is a multi-platform OS. People buy Win 8 tablets with a keyboard dock instead of a laptop because then they get two devices in one. There is no need to buy a Windows 8 desktop because Windows 8 runs on anything that was capable of running Vista and it is cheap as hell. People just buy the OS. So in a way Windows 8 is to blame because it opens up new platforms and doesn't need new hardware to run on.

Anyone who says Windows 8 is too hard to learn either just don't like change or haven't actually tried using Windows 8 on a regular basis. My grandparents wanted a laptop to replace their XP desktop so I directed them to a cheap touchscreen Win 8 Ultrabook. They find it easy to use and like it better than XP.

SpAc3man:

Alfador_VII:
And no Windows 8 isn't actually BAD, and may be very stable, it just offers no benefit for a conventional PC, has worse games compatibility than Win7, and has a whole new interface to learn, which is designed for touchscreens and poorly optimised for Mouse and Keyboard.

Lies. Windows 8 runs everything Windows 7 does with no problems. Occasionally you may need to tell something to run in compatibility mode but nothing more than that.

The new interface is in fact very well optimised for mouse and keyboard. Being touch optimised dos not prevent this.

Here is a blog article where a MS developer responds to many common criticisms of the start screen.

Here is another detailing the search functionality of Windows 8 and how it is optimised for keyboard input.

OT: Windows 8 is a multi-platform OS. People buy Win 8 tablets with a keyboard dock instead of a laptop because then they get two devices in one. There is no need to buy a Windows 8 desktop because Windows 8 runs on anything that was capable of running Vista and it is cheap as hell. People just buy the OS. So in a way Windows 8 is to blame because it opens up new platforms and doesn't need new hardware to run on.

Anyone who says Windows 8 is too hard to learn either just don't like change or haven't actually tried using Windows 8 on a regular basis. My grandparents wanted a laptop to replace their XP desktop so I directed them to a cheap touchscreen Win 8 Ultrabook. They find it easy to use and like it better than XP.

Plus 8 does actually improve on some of the failings of 7, multi monitor support is so much better in 8 to name one example.

Also I wonder does this study take into account people self building PCs? People are building more and more (or getting a friend to do it , ect) so Tobisha , Dell ect wont see those sales figures but people like Nvidia, intel AMD ect will.

Oh and for those that don't like the start screen there are add ons out there that restore the traditional task bar and start button and disable native metro boot. (I use Start8 from Stardock but there are others to)

I think that the PC market has slowed down because there's a new console generation coming. If you are a PC gamer now, there is no reason to upgrade. The smart thing to do is wait for the next console generation, by which time the hardware will be cheaper and you'll have a better idea of what you'll need to spend to get an enjoyable experience with console ports.

And that applies to laptops too, since many laptops run games these days, but might struggle with next gen console ports.

Windows 8 doesn't help, but there would still be a slump even if it was as popular as 7.

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