Saturday04 February 2023

PC Sales Stumbling While Microsoft and Hardware Manufacturers Figure Things Out...

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The PC is dead, PC sales are declining, and we are entering the post PC era; these are all headlines that are getting pushed around the internet right now. These are the same headlines that we have heard every year around the same time and by the same people for the last 15 or so years. They are just as wrong now as they were then, at least mostly wrong. What has happened is that we have hit an interesting time in the market. This is a time when we have too many new and “cool” technologies that are not cheap to make, but no idea on how to implement them (or an OS that really takes advantage of them). This is not the first time we have seen this and it won’t be the last either and it also comes at a time when the market is flooded with companion devices that are being marketed as standalone products.

To add to this chaos we have an operating system that is failing as both a desktop OS and as a mobile OS. If Microsoft’s Windows 8 or RT was more of a success we would possible seem more PC sales. After taking multiple trips to different stores like Best Buy, CompUSA and others you can see the reluctance in the eyes and demeanors of consumers looking at these new products. They want to know why they are paying so much for hardware that has technology that they do not need (or in many cases want). While some might be interested in having a touch screen on their laptop, the majority does not care about this and only see it as paying more money for something they do not need (the average price of desktops and laptops has gone up, not down).
Some are also noticing that the average resolution on new notebooks has dropped despite the use of terms like HD Display they are only getting 1366x728 (which is only 720P HD). We asked about this and found that many consumers feel cheated by this type of labeling. To them HD means 1080p (1920x1080) and calling 720p “HD” is just not cutting it. Microsoft is alienating their consumer base by forcing the cloud and modern UI on people, and also by changing their stance on the way Windows works. We were concerned about this happening when we first heard about the removal of the start button, media center, the heavy shift to cloud services and a few other items.

Microsoft was and still is playing a very dangerous game in making this abrupt change in the way Windows operates. They might have felt that this was what customers wanted, but they misread the data and failed to execute the actual data that they did have on hand. Instead they built up a fantasy land thinking that by simply putting out an OS and trying to lock it to new hardware people would buy it. That strategy did not work out so well even with massive discounts and special offers when Windows 8 and RT were released.

We expect to see “PC” (meaning Windows based systems) sales to continue to falter until we see hardware prices stabilize and computer manufacturers stop shoveling hardware that does not make sense into their products and charging more than the device is really worth. This will put the Windows PC back in line with where they have always been, powerful, scalable, flexible and less expensive than the “other guy”. During this transition Microsoft has to bend a little on their push as a cloud services company. Windows 8 could have been a great OS, if Microsoft would have put even a little more thought into who was actually using the OS and what they expected of it. This means they have to re-envision Windows 8 as a desktop OS with touch as a secondary function or allow this as an option when installed. If Microsoft and their partners can do these things in the next 6-10 months they can bring back sales, if not well… things will continue to decline until they do.

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Last modified on Thursday, 18 April 2013 08:31

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