Recently, several estimates of lower PC production have been published. The latest was by Mark Moskowitz of JP Morgan. He is predicting tiny growth in 2011 over 2010 shipments. A blog post by Ray Tieman, PCs, Tablets: JP Morgan Cuts Estimates, Again reports,
“On the PC side, Moskowitz now expects 360.75 million units to ship this year, growth of 2.8% versus 2010, down from a prior estimate of 375.3 million units, which would have been growth of 7%. For 2012, he also cut his number, to 397 million units, or 10% unit growth, down from a prior 418.5 million units, which would have been 11.5% growth.
Consumer PC purchases continue to be weak, he writes, and in fact, although he thinks consumer PC units will decline 0.2% this year, that drop could actually be worse, he thinks. The problem is that smartphones and tablets are delaying consumer purchases:
We think that the useful lives of PCs are lengthening to 5-6 years versus 4-5 years historically. Alongside the increasing effects of smartphones and tablets deferring PC purchases, we think that the macro and useful life challenges set the stage for a tough 2011 in PCs on the consumer front.”
If one adds to 360million “PCs” the expected 50 million tablets and 472 million smart phones, the picture is not bleak but warm and fuzzy. This situation means the monopoly is stalled, at an inflection point, and has nowhere to go but down. The future for Linux in all its forms and ARM in PCs of all kinds seems very bright. Android/Linux is not taking 100% of tablets, smart phones or PCs but it will have a healthy share in a diverse market, something we have not seen thanks to exclusive dealing by the monopoly for more than a decade. The world is not waiting for Intel to reduce power consumption nor M$ to release “8”. IT is finally getting true diversity in hardware and software plaforms, something long overdue.
Moskowitz and others are predicting “PCs” to grow about 10% in shipments next year but there is no basis for that. It’s wishful thinking that things will return to normal. Normal used to be people buying another PC every three years. Normal is people wanting small cheap computers and keeping old machines until they die, something people can expect using Linux and ARM. By the time Wintel gets into the mobile market they will be playing catch-up. More personal computing devices, including smart thingies, will ship with Linux aboard than that other OS. More personal computing devices will ship with ARM than x86/amd64. 2011 is going to be a great year.