PC market still sinking -- can Microsoft's Windows 10 save it from drowning?
"The PC is dead". "Tablets are the future". Blah, blah, blah. Total bullsh*t. Now that many apparent tech "experts" have tired of proclaiming the PC to be dead, we can finally enjoy our Windows, Linux and OS X personal computers in peace.
While PCs are still alive, not all is well in the market. According to IDC, shipments of these computers in Q215 were down once again, even lower than expected -- an 11.8 percent decrease, year over year -- ouch. While I am sure many OEMs are hurting, there is some good news on the horizon -- a new version of Windows coming July 29! While the much maligned tile-heavy Windows 8 did nothing to jump-start PC sales, Windows 10 may have that ability. Can Windows 10 be the PC market savior?
"The slow PC shipments were largely anticipated as a result of stronger year-ago shipments relating to end of support for windows XP as well as channels reducing inventory ahead of the release of Windows 10. In addition, weaker or changing exchange rates for foreign currencies have effectively increased PC prices in many markets, thereby reducing purchasing power and also complicating investment planning", says IDC.
Loren Loverde, VP of IDC's Worldwide PC Tracker Program explains, "although the second quarter decline in PC shipments was significant, and slightly more than expected, the overall trend fits with expectations. We continue to expect low to mid-single digit declines in volume during the second half of the year with volume stabilizing in future years. We're expecting the Windows 10 launch to go relatively well, though many users will opt for a free OS upgrade rather than buying a new PC. Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue, but the economic environment has had a larger impact lately, and that should stabilize or improve going forward".
This analysis and prediction of a "relatively well" Windows 10 launch is actually great news for Microsoft. Look, consumers are still feeling the pain of Windows 8, they will be understandably hesitant to buy a new Windows 10 PC without going to the store and trying the new start menu. In a world where online shopping is extremely popular, Microsoft will need brick and mortar stores like Best Buy and the dreaded Walmart to demonstrate and push the machines.
I liken Windows 8 to the great white shark in the movie Jaws. After people saw the film, they were afraid to go in the ocean. With passing time, however, the memory of the film faded and they went swimming. Consumers will swim in the Windows 10 waters eventually with time.
IDC shares the following top 5 worldwide and USA manufacturers by shipment.
There are no huge surprises here, as Lenovo remains the number one OEM worldwide. While shipments were down globally, it did see growth in the USA. This is impressive, considering some of the bad press the company endured with Superfish; Americans can have pretty short memories, however.
Acer took a huge hit overall, but did see growth with Chromebooks, while Apple was the only company to experience big growth globally. On the surface (pun intended), this may look like a bad sign for Microsoft, as growth is being experienced outside of Windows. With that said, market share and shipments of both OS X and Chrome OS are paltry. Not to mention, Microsoft is now embracing other platforms; it released Office 2016 for Mac earlier today.
So, will Windows 10 be the PC market savior? Too early to tell. In the short term, certainly not. The market is not likely to rebound quickly. We will likely be in 2016 before this will be clear. One thing is for sure, however -- it is going to be an exciting ride either way.