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Gartner blames tablets, not Windows 8, for PC market slump

Gartner blames tablets, not Windows 8, for PC market slump

Windows 8 is not to blame for the massive drop in PC shipments in the last quarter, Gartner claims, pointing the finger instead at a general shift to tablet devices.

Market watcher Gartner has suggested that Microsoft is not to blame for a serious quarterly slump in sales, questioning rival analyst IDC's conclusions while simultaneously confirming its figures.

Like IDC, Gartner has seen a dramatic fall in overall PC shipments for the quarter. While IDC claims a 13.9 per cent drop in worldwide shipments, Gartner's figures are only slightly less alarm with a claim of a 11.2 per cent slip compared to the same quarter last year. While that's somewhat better, it's still an alarming slide, and one which is reflected across all markets.

Gartner, however, is refuting IDC's claim that Windows 8 is to blame for the slump. '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,' claimed IDC's Bob O'Donnell in the company's report - but his equivalents at Gartner are pointing the finger very firmly elsewhere, claiming buyers are using the excuse of an ageing desktop or laptop to jump away from the PC market altogether.

'Although the overall economy had some upward momentum, it did not help buoy PC growth, suggesting the economic recovery is having little impact on PC market conditions,' Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, claimed in the report. 'Similar to other mature markets, the U.S. will see the installed base of consumer PCs decrease going forward. This is because many of these systems will not be replaced with PCs; they will be displaced by other devices, or simply retired.'

Those 'other devices,' it will come as a surprise to no-one, are largely tablets. The success of Apple's iPad and the growing number of highly-capable Android-based tablets, many of which can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of even an entry-level laptop, are more than capable of performing the majority of tasks asked of them by consumers. Web browsing, communication and even casual gaming no longer need a desktop or laptop - and it's this shift, Gartner claims, rather than the poor reception of Windows 8, that is to blame for slowing demand in the consumer market.

Evidence of this is present, Kitagawa claims, in one area that has not been suffering quite so badly: the enterprise. 'Unlike the consumer PC segment, the professional PC market, which accounts for about half of overall PC shipments, has seen growth, driven by continuing PC refreshes,' Kitagawa detailed in the report. 'Despite the fact that some regions already passed the peak of PC refresh, overall professional PC demand continued to grow.'

One area in which Gartner and IDC are in agreement, however, is that the cost of Windows 8 machines with touch-screen displays - a near-requirement if the divisive Modern user interface is to make a scrap of sense - is going to have to be drastically reduced. 'Windows 8 PCs with touch-screens accounted for only a small percentage of consumer PC shipments in the first quarter of 2013,' claimed Gartner research analyst Isabelle Durand. 'The majority of consumers remain unwilling to pay the price premium for touch-screen capabilities on PCs at this stage. But, even so, touch-screens and Windows 8 will represent key opportunities for PC manufacturers in the second half of 2013.'

Gartner's vote of confidence in the next-generation operating system will come as a relief to Microsoft, which has seen its share price slip since IDC released its own report castigating the platform. The company's stock price is down 4.4 per cent at $28.93 following a mass sell-off when the market opened yesterday, leading to financial analysts including Goldman Sachs downgrading the company's rating.

18 Comments

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Flibblebot 12th April 2013, 12:35 Quote
I think Gartner has a much more sensible analysis than IDC - simply blaming Windows 8 seemed a little lazy to me.

I think tablets are far more to blame than a new operating system. After all, most consumers don't even think about the OS when they're buying a new laptop, all they're concerned about is whether they can read email and use Facebook. Even corporates will wipe a new PC and install whatever the corporate standard OS image is.

The tablets thing is borne out in my work - I work as an adult tutor teaching IT classes, and we've seen a decrease in the number of "Computers for the Terrified" courses we run and an increase in the number of "Learn Your Tablet" courses.
erratum1 12th April 2013, 12:50 Quote
A tablet does what they want it's cheaper more portable.
sstteevveenn 12th April 2013, 13:38 Quote
Can somebody write a script or something that inserts '[sic]' whenever someone writes 'going forward'? Maybe there is a firefox extension or something that does this? :/
Griffter 12th April 2013, 13:57 Quote
i want to go back to 1998. schooldays, no worries and the start of usb i think and just great feelings all round. bliss
rayson 12th April 2013, 14:14 Quote
:'( i dont pc growth slow down
Blademrk 12th April 2013, 14:23 Quote
While I think Tablets are the main cause of this, I don't think Win8 is helping either (earlier in the week I overheard someone trying to return a copy of Win8 they'd bought because they hated it and get a copy of win7 instead (in Asda of all places, and no, they don't stock Win7))
jrs77 12th April 2013, 15:10 Quote
Said this allready, when the other article blaming Win8 was written.

Smartphones and tablets can do most of the stuff people need, like eMail, social media and media-playback. Even office works nice with a tablet, aswell as some casual gaming.

There's actually nothing wrong with smartphones and tablets cutting into PC-sales, as they're nothing else then a PC basically. Atleast I see no difference between a low powered 11-13" laptop and a 10" tablet, when you attach a keyboard-cover.
Gareth Halfacree 12th April 2013, 15:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sstteevveenn
Can somebody write a script or something that inserts '[sic]' whenever someone writes 'going forward'? Maybe there is a firefox extension or something that does this? :/
D'you know what, I think I'm going to start doing that. I already have something of a reputation for asking the question "and going backwards?" every time somebody says it in person...
Corky42 12th April 2013, 15:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I think Gartner has a much more sensible analysis than IDC - simply blaming Windows 8 seemed a little lazy to me.

I think the reason so much blame is laid at 8's door is because in the past most of the time when a new M$ OS came out it came with increased hardware requirements.
So maybe rather short sited people think this would have been the same with 8 or all future OS's, apart from the divisive modern UI touch capabilities i don't think 8 has caused people to rush out and buy new kit.
Tyinsar 12th April 2013, 16:09 Quote
So ... if tablets and smart phones are the only things cutting into PC sales then why aren't the Surface and other Win8 tablets taking over that market?



(That's a rhetorical question.)
Gareth Halfacree 12th April 2013, 16:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
So ... if tablets and smart phones are the only things cutting into PC sales then why aren't the Surface and other Win8 tablets taking over that market? (That's a rhetorical question.)
Despite that, I'm going to answer it anyway: because people are buying cheap tablets, not £1,000 tablets. Both Gartner and IDC cite price as being one of the reasons for the slow sales of touch-based Windows 8 hardware. Couple that with Windows 8 being so alien, and your buyer's thought process goes like this: "Well, I'm going to have to learn an entirely new way of doing things anyway, so I might as well buy this Android tablet for £200 instead of the Surface Pro for £1,000."

Well, except those who buy an iPad. Price is less important in that sub-section of the market.
Tyinsar 12th April 2013, 17:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
... Couple that with Windows 8 being so alien, and your buyer's thought process goes like this: "Well, I'm going to have to learn an entirely new way of doing things anyway, so I might as well buy this Android tablet for £200 instead of the Surface Pro for £1,000." ...
Indeed. Let me add: "I can do most of what I want on my smart phone anyway." Even some of my business associates do a great deal more on their phones than on their desktop computers / laptops or tablets. Many people are already investing a great deal of time on devices that are not running Windows. They are already more comfortable with those (iOS / Android / BB) than with Windows 8.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
... Well, except those who buy an iPad. Price is less important in that sub-section of the market.
I bought an iPad(3) and IMHO it's only really worth it if it's jailbroken. I think my next tablet (in a few years) will be either Android or Surface.
rollo 13th April 2013, 01:13 Quote
disagree gareth i brought my ipad cause it was the best tablet on the market when i got it ( ipad 2) and the only one at the time that had sky go as compatible a major purchase decision for me.

Money never came into the question was about filling a need that i had.
jrs77 13th April 2013, 09:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyinsar
Indeed. Let me add: "I can do most of what I want on my smart phone anyway." Even some of my business associates do a great deal more on their phones than on their desktop computers / laptops or tablets. Many people are already investing a great deal of time on devices that are not running Windows. They are already more comfortable with those (iOS / Android / BB) than with Windows 8.

I bought an iPad(3) and IMHO it's only really worth it if it's jailbroken. I think my next tablet (in a few years) will be either Android or Surface.

I bought an iPad3 aswell, and I think that it's better then most Android-based tablets even when not jailbroken. I do draw alot on the iPad for example with Sketchbook Pro and the Retina Display makes it just that much better then all the Android-devices with the smaller resolutions and iOS in general runs alot smoother then Android, as hardware and OS are optimized.

Besides that. My next tablet definately needs a SDHC-slot or even better an USB-port for mass-storage, and currently I think only the Surface / Pro provides that. The Surface Pro especially could be very interesting when installing Photoshop.
Gareth Halfacree 13th April 2013, 10:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
disagree gareth i brought my ipad cause it was the best tablet on the market when i got it ( ipad 2) and the only one at the time that had sky go as compatible a major purchase decision for me. Money never came into the question was about filling a need that i had.
So... you agree with me, then? Given that you just said "money never came into the question," and I specifically stated: "Well, except those who buy an iPad. Price is less important in that sub-section of the market."
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
I do draw alot on the iPad for example with Sketchbook Pro and the Retina Display makes it just that much better then all the Android-devices with the smaller resolutions and iOS in general runs alot smoother then Android, as hardware and OS are optimized.
I rather think you'll find that Android is also optimised for its hardware, just like iOS. Also, while the retina iPad was once the highest resolution tablet available on the open market - and may well have been at the time you purchased it - it has long since been beaten in that regard: the latest iPad 4 has a 9.7in 2,048x1,536 display, while Google's Nexus 10 (manufactured by Asus) has a 10in 2,560x1,600 display. In the "pixels per inch" metric Apple likes to use, that gives the iPad 4 a 264PPI density compared to 300PPI for the Nexus 10 - a considerable difference. You also tend to save money with an Android tablet: the Nexus 10 is £319 (plus about £8 postage) for the base 16GB model, while the iPad 4 costs £399.

Of course, there may be other reasons you find the iPad better than an Android tablet, and I am in no way saying that you should ditch the iPad - if it works for you, then stick with it. I'm merely pointing out that the iPad is not the leading tablet in terms of display resolution, regardless of what Apple may claim.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Besides that. My next tablet definately needs a SDHC-slot or even better an USB-port for mass-storage, and currently I think only the Surface / Pro provides that. The Surface Pro especially could be very interesting when installing Photoshop.
Plenty of non-Apple tablets have SDHC card slots and USB On-The-Go (OTG) support - not just the Surface family. Sony's Xperia Tablet Z, for example, is an Android tablet launching next month with a micro-SD slot and USB OTG support. Sadly, it's more expensive than an iPad and has a somewhat disappointing 1,920x1,080 display resolution - but comes with the bonus gimmick that it's fully waterproof.

Interestingly, the cheaper you go the more likely you are to get micro-SD and USB OTG support: Google's Nexus 10 includes neither, but the Busbi tablet Ebuyer is currently selling for less than £50 does USB OTG no problem, while the £130 Gemini has both USB OTG and micro-SD support. Why this isn't reflected at the top end of the tablet market I just don't know, although Asus has always been pretty good in including it on the Transformer family if you get the keyboard dock - which includes a full-size SD card slot and at least one full-size USB port, no adapter required.
PingCrosby 14th April 2013, 20:40 Quote
I blame the parents
rollo 14th April 2013, 21:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by PingCrosby
I blame the parents

Eh?
Tyinsar 15th April 2013, 05:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
I bought an iPad3 aswell, and I think that it's better then most Android-based tablets even when not jailbroken. ...

Besides that. My next tablet definately needs a SDHC-slot or even better an USB-port for mass-storage, ...
Swipe Selection, ShowCase, Activator, SBSettings, Manual Correct, Always Close, f.lux ... all free with a jailbreak. All greatly improve the usability of iOS. I'm pretty sure Android has eqivelants without the need for jailbreaks. I like my jailbroken iPad but I believe Apple needs to catch up with Android. Even Windows 8, despite MS's new locks, may heve better options than what Apple locks users into. Apple openned the tablet market up but Android has caught up and MS may be there as well - if they can get enough market share.
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