PC ‘Weak’ as Microsoft Admit ‘Post-PC’ World

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Global PC demand is falling as consumer lovingly embrace iPhone and tabs.

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Can Windows 8 save PC market?

That’s according to Gartner analysts, who predict Worldwide PC shipments are to total 368 million units in 2012, a 4.4% jump on last year.

However, Australian PC shipments are set to decline 2% this year, with desktops expected to drop 12%, although notebooks will rise 2%.

However, this dreary forecast is set to reverse in 2013 as shipments are predicted to hit 400m by year end, according to the PC forecast just released.

But the PC market will have to play catch up in bringing “a new level of innovation that consumers want to see in devices,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

“The real question is whether Windows 8 and ultrabooks will create the compelling offering that gets the earlier adopter of devices excited about PCs again.”

And speaking of good old PC lord, Microsoft, its former tech guru, Ray Ozzie, admitted the post-PC era is firmly upon us at a tech conference Wednesday. Ozzie left the company suddenly in 2010.

“People argue about ‘are we in a post-PC world?’. Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world,” he said at a conference in Seattle, Microsoft home turf, reports Reuters.

“That doesn’t mean the PC dies, that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things,” he said.

Microsoft has come a long way since his departure, he admitted.

“I’m happy about some things and I’m impatient about other things,” he added.

 

And while the bad world economy and supply issues with SSDs played a key part in the weaker market, changing consumer dynamics was of “far greater” to vendors, say Gartner.

2011 redefined the landscape of the device market with the advent of mobile computing on tabs like iPad, Apple and Android smartphones, say analysts.

The use of e-mail, social networking and Internet, traditionally the domain of the PC, are now being used across mobile devices, making them in some cases more attractive propositions, said Atwal.

Consumers will now look at a task that they have to perform, and will determine which device will allow them to perform such a task in the convenient way, rather than the other way around. 

Ultrabooks will garner greater attention in the latter half of 2012 as the industry looks to reinvigorate the market.

However, PCs will face even more competition from Android and Microsoft media tablets, as well as the new iPad, unveiled yesterday, Atwal noted.

“Moreover, we expect the shift to the personal cloud will also accelerate as consumers increasingly adopt cloud-based services as part of their digital ecosystem,” he added.

And of the declining Aussie PC market, local Gartner analyst, Eileen said:

“Consumer spending is getting slower in mature markets like Australia, and Gartner foresees this situation will continue in 2012. Meanwhile, the impact of the HDD shortage that occurred during Q4 2011 will be somewhat delayed, we think most serious in 1H 2012.

 

“We also don’t foresee good performance in the desk-based PC market. The fast adoption of media tablets is having a heavy impact on traditional PC market growth.”

Emerging markets, which currently have low PC penetration rates, are key to worldwide growth in both the short and long-term, and Gartner expects market share increases from just over 50% in 2011 to nearly 70% in 2016.

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