Outlook worsens for PC OEMs

Outlook worsens for PC OEMs

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Et tu, Windows? Worldwide PC shipments plummeted in the first quarter of the year and industry watchers are placing much of the blame on Microsoft's latest operating system.

Rather than spur a new consumer and enterprise upgrade cycle, Windows 8 seems to be having the opposite effect, according to new analysis out from market research firm International Data Corp. At 76.3 million units, worldwide shipments declined 13.9 percent year-over-year in Q1 according to IDC, which amounts to nearly double the anticipated decline. The firm had previously expected the improving economy and new touch-optimized hardware to mitigate the slow decline in PC sales, rather than exacerbate them.

"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," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC VP for clients and displays. "While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the [user interface], removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market."

David Daoud, research director for IDC also weighed in, calling the magnitude of the market contraction "surprising and worrisome."

The latest numbers, which include an over 18 percent decline in U.S. shipments between Q4 2012 and Q1 2013, are poised to shakeup the PC OEM landscape. Market-leader HP shipped nearly 24 percent fewer units in Q1 2013, compared to the same period last year, and will likely lose its spot as the top PC OEM to No. 2 Lenovo at some point this year. Year-over-year, Dell's worldwide shipments declined nearly 11 percent, Acer's shipments were down 31 percent, and Asus, was down 19 percent. Even Apple, which does not rank in the top five OEMs worldwide, saw its year-over-year U.S. shipments of Macintosh computers decline 7.5 percent during this period.

Many industry watchers expect this shift away from traditional desktop and laptop computers, as well as the x86 system architecture in general, to lead to market consolidation and mergers among OEMs.

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