PC sales drop to 2007 levels


#1

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#2

Ironic. My last computer purchase was in 2007. Can’t kill my 17-inch MBP!


#3

It’s not even Windows 10 that’s responsible. It’s that old computers just don’t get obsolete the way they used to. We easily get ten years out of a PC, where the ones they replaced were only good for five.

Windows XP still does a perfectly good job of running everything from accounting systems to web browsers. Another major service pack with new security updates would be all most machines needed, rather than Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10.

Even then, with security being almost the sole reason to upgrade, companies are instead depending more on hardware firewall appliances, third-party endpoint protection, and malware detection in their mail servers.


#4

The headline seems a bit misleading. When I read it I assumed the article would be blaming Win 10 because it was bad not because it was being adopted by people who then saw no reason to upgrade. That might be bad news for manufacturers but it sounds good for Microsoft.


#5

Yeah this. There just hasn’t been enough of a horsepower reason other than cutting edge gaming for most users to be on the upgrade train every 3 to 5 years (and with ps4/xbones that keeps a lot of game specs down a bit as well). I imagine my current 17" beast of a laptop will keep geting along fine for quite awhile. I did update to win10 cause it looked like they fixed my main gripe about the UI/(start menu) and this would probably be the version work goes to as well so why not get ahead of the game for once.


#6

It’s also easier than ever to buy a kit or build completely from scratch. All the PC consumers I know build from scratch, and I imagine one of the heaviest uses of a PC at home is gaming which requires some degree of DIY.

Really, upgrading GPUs is much more important.


#7

The PC’s I built for my wife and myself in 2007 are still doing everything we want them to, with the only changes being Windows 7 and bigger hard drives. The only thing I can’t do is play the latest twitch games which I have no interest in anyway.


#8

I have never bothered with PCs. I prefer workstations and servers which offer more robust hardware.


#9

The hobbyist/gaming market probably has no effect on this. We have always built our own PCs, or at least everyone I know. Also, that market is fractionally small. The “average” PC user probably still buys from a big box store. I can’t picture any of my PC using friends or family deciphering the jargon, hitting up PCpartpicker, and building their dream rig. Which they would use only to browser the internet, and do their taxes (on the internet).

Its probably mainly down to three factors, the first is that computers don’t go obsolete like they used to, especially for normal tasks. My mom is using a 7 year old hand-me-down computer (granted it used to be a gaming rig), and I have a 5 year old computer in my closet, both of which would be more than competent at normal uses. I wouldn’t have been able to imagine this in the 90’s or early Naughties, where my computers had around a 3-5 year life span. Hardware has been largely stagnant, and software hasn’t really gotten more demanding since its all switching to cloud based, decentralized, computing.

Second, mobile devices are king. Most people don’t need a computer, just a decent tablet, or at best some sort of ultrabook. If any of my acquaintances were to ask my advice on what type of computer to buy, most of the time I’d tell them, unless you’re gaming, don’t bother with a desktop. If you aren’t doing video get a chromebook or ultrabook, if you don’t type a lot; get a tablet.

The third reason, is that Apple is, for some reason, winning. I don’t know why, outside of marketing wank and visibility; but they are. On a logical level, this confuses me, since Macs are just expensive PCs run by a company just as obnoxious and untrustworthy as Microsoft, and in my experience OS X isn’t much more powerful, dependable, or stable than MSs recent offerings… But markets are never rational.


#10

Plus, the Indiepocalypse has resulted in more low-overhead games than I can reasonably play. I don’t feel like I am suffering from a lack of next-gen AAA in my life.


#11

I didn’t realize this was all personal computing for some reason I thought it was desktop specifically.

Mobile is obviously the big reason the PC market is shrinking. People are happy to do less as uncomfortably as possible in the name of carrying it around easier… but then again most people still pay their cable bills.

Laptops still go obsolete as quickly as desktops used to, but hardware is so swappable compared to 2000 and the price of building is so low just about everyone can get a family member in for an upgrade. My desktop from 2009 runs great, and it just needs a memory boost and maybe a better GPU to run everything but 60fps at the highest quality graphics available.

Also, Apple is not the top of the market outside mobile hardware. They love to claim they have better market share than they do, but Lenovo is the king of the market.


#12

Oh heck the one AAA game series I have played was mostly a fluke of a free weekend and I liked enough that the sale price was more than worth my weekend play and I wanted to finish the game. (Borderlands2)

Most of the other stuff just does not appeal to me and there are bunch of humble indie bundle games in my library that I have yet to get to as well.

ETA and my free time to play the games isn’t what it used to be either so that also cuts down on the drive to buy latest thing too.


#13

I use desktop computers to do Real Work, designing electronics and packaging. I figure that the market will shrink to the point that a desktop PC becomes as much of a niche as a server is now. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.


#14

Most PC sales are to Federal and business clients (in fairness, the article does mention the latter). Those customers are dormant for most of the holidays, have spent their fiscal budgets and won’t be gearing up to buy more until well into 2016. Evaluating PC sales by holiday numbers will be skewed by the much smaller retail market.

OS licensing isn’t that much of the tech expenditure for big businesses which have smorgasbords of enterprise software to renew and hardware contracts largely based on actual needs for upgrade and replacing, not junking perfectly good boxes to get a pre-installed software update.

Except for Apple users, for whom their MacBooks are status symbols, I think retail consumers are mainly buying laptops if and when their old ones start crashing or freezing up. And even then, more are turning to third-party repair shops. Getting a new laptop just doesn’t have the shiny allure it once did. Most end users still aren’t tech geeks, and many can get their work done on a phone and tablet, with maybe an old laptop for emergency use. Phones and tablets are the new tech toys for the masses.


#15

This is true, but they also are the fastest growing PC manufacturer right now, and this cannibalizing parts of a shrinking market.


#16

The only reason I would get a Windows machine now is for playing games. I can probably put something together or find something used (like 2014 or so) that would run the games I have without any issues. Outside of that, don’t see a reason to update.


#17

It’s very simple. Apple, unlike all the other major name brands, has devoted huge amounts of effort to making sure their customers are happy. Call apple for customer support in North America, you get a live human being who is a native speaker of your language. Have any kind of problem with an Apple device, you can bring it in to an Apple store for troubleshooting and service. Apple makes the OS and several of the most commonly needed programs for their computers, and they are careful to keep the UI simple and easy to use across all of their software. They control the hardware, so you never run into driver issues with their machines. Everything, from their webstore to their out-of-box setup, is geared to making your experience with them smooth, seamless, simple, and stress-free. And their stuff is pretty to boot.

Happy customers make for repeat customers, and word of mouth advertising is the best advertising.

Contrast to the outsourced, Philippine or Indian call centre based customer disservice offered by all the other major PC makers. Contrast to the “pass the buck” support system that’s standard in the Windows PC world, where Microsoft tells you to call the manufacturer and the manufacturer tells you to call Microsoft for help.


#18

I’m still running Windows 7 and wish the annoying upgrade message would dry up and blow away!


#19

I totally agree with this. I have a machine running Linux that I bought in 2009, and have been slowly upgrading since. It’s a hodgepodge of an AMD machine with mostly lower-end parts purchased over the last seven years, the latest additions being a two-generations-behind nVidia card and an SSD for cache. (As long as the files are in cache, it’s so fast.) The monitor is probably older than that but at my viewing distance it’s “retinal”. And yes, from all that, I’m an old dinosaur who still uses a desktop PC.

I guarantee that if I fire up Bioshock Infinite, it will play just fine. Now, I realize Bioshock Infinite is nearly three years old, but I’m not much of a gamer. The fact is, it’s okay that the processor is 7 years old. Now, I plan to replace the mobo and processor, but it’ll be at least a generation behind, and if I want to play games, the AAA titles are aimed at the XBox and PS4, so I’m good.

So the 90s notion that people should be buying a new PC every three years has gone out the window, for sure. I know this is an Apple crowd, but I think it sucks that they’re the only PC manufacturer that’s seeing growth. This machine has been as reliable as any Apple I’ve ever dealt with, maybe more reliable, and that’s because I was relatively careful with the key components. I wouldn’t be able to get away with just dropping a couple hundred bucks to upgrade the core components, if I had a Mac Pro.


#20

I run 7 at my office, where 10 is not yet supported. I found that I had to do about six levels of futzing with the automatic updates to get it to stop making that upgrade thing appear every week. One of these is to disable automatic Windows updates, since they keep pushing a new version of the upgrade notifier!

Jerks.