Finally, Even Gartner Sees Structural Shift of PC Market

“Whereas as once we imagined a world in which individual users would have both a PC and a tablet as personal devices, we increasingly suspect that most individuals will shift consumption activity to a personal tablet, and perform creative and administrative tasks on a shared PC. There will be some individuals who retain both, but we believe they will be exception and not the norm. Therefore, we hypothesize that buyers will not replace secondary PCs in the household, instead allowing them to age out and shifting consumption to a tablet.” 

see Gartner Says Declining Worldwide PC Shipments in Fourth Quarter of 2012 Signal Structural Shift of PC Market.

See that, fans of M$, the inevitability of M$’s monopoly was just a dream. We never did and certainly no longer need a Wintel PC. Tablets and smartphones will do many tasks and you can hook a keyboard and monitor to some tiny thing to get more done. It is inevitable that a large share of Wintel PCs will be replaced with GNU/Linux or Android/Linux tiny boxes running ARMed processors.

Only a few years ago, Gartner and many businesses equated the PC with Wintel but not any more. Many businesses are asking employees to drag in whatever works, people are using the web while commuting, shopping, and whatever they do outside of work. The infusion of that vibrant IT environment into business is inevitable. There is no longer a widespread belief that business needs Wintel everywhere on a big fat PC. For about five years more businesses have been seeking leaner alternatives and the market has provided many solutions from which to choose besides Wintel. We have seen Wintel try to jack up the prices of PCs just to hide the cost of Wintel but it’s not working. Folks are buying tablets rather than “ultra” Wintel devices. Folks are buying */Linux and ARM.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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9 Responses to Finally, Even Gartner Sees Structural Shift of PC Market

  1. oiaohm says:

    bw Apple OS/i and OS/X use the same kernel development team. Yes all those idevices split kernel development cost with Apple kernel development.

    bw there is a bad reality. Forget computer makers. Chipset makers do most of the driver heavy lifting.

    Apple does most of there own internal hardware driver development right down to some chips in Apple devices being 100 percent custom orders. This is different to PC.

    The billions MS spends on OS development is not much.

    The sharing of kernel development between Windows 8 Phone and Windows 8 desktop and Windows RT is all about attempting to reduce overhead to the sameish level as competition.

  2. bw says:

    Doing the math is the right way to look at the problem, I agree. If the makers are only saving a dollar per system by buying Windows, you are correct. However, Microsoft itself seems to spend many billions of dollars each year on Windows research and development and it is questionable that computer makers could get by so cheaply. Why does Apple charge so much?

  3. bw, endlessly apologizing for M$ wrote, “The makers have to pay a large programmer staff to make that happen. In the PC world, that army of programmers was replaced by just buying Windows. I think that likely ended up cheaper for the consumer.”

    So, I pay a few programmers a $million to customize GNU/Linux for my OEM PC and sell a million of them. That comes out to $1 each… Do the maths.

    Further, one can edit menus and splash-screens and backgrounds very nicely and accomplish a lot in terms of brand-recognition. There’s certainly not much advantage to tweaking the GUI to be incompatible with what buyers like. The whole idea of FLOSS is to share the load of developing software and GNU/Linux does that beautifully. If an OEM wanted the GUI tweaked it would cost much less to have one developer interact with the community surrounding that aspect of the OS than to go it alone. There could be exceptions such as when GNOME or KDE go off on some silly tangent but that would be less likely to happen if OEMs had representation/participation in the community. I would suggest XFCE4 for such OEMs. It’s a smaller GUI and would perform better than bloatware on almost any PC.

  4. bw says:

    I am looking at the issue differently. The presentation of the OS to the user is the most important element of the user’s perception of the product. Phones and tablets each present an overall image that varies from maker to maker. Back in the old days, the presentation by Radio Shack, Apple, IBM PC, and a host of others varied widely and caused the individual brands to spend a lot of money maintaining their individuality.

    Today, that is what is being done by the phone and tablet makers. A Kindle is totally different from an iPad which is totally different from a Google. Just go to your local Best Buy and see for yourself.

    The makers have to pay a large programmer staff to make that happen. In the PC world, that army of programmers was replaced by just buying Windows. I think that likely ended up cheaper for the consumer. Prices definitely went way down over the years. It took away from the individuality, but that was replaced with a consistency that a lot of people see as valuable.

    It may be possible today for makers to substitute Google’s stuff for Microsoft’s, but back when the market was growing, that wasn’t available and today the user is faced with throwing out everything that they accumulated over the years and starting over or just buying a new computer a little less often. Windows has been the face of computers for over 20 years and that is not going to change in any short time.

  5. bw wrote, “the one size fits all approach of Windows might actually lower prices”, completely ignoring the ripoff M$ takes for doing nothing.

    Look at it this way, if an assembly-line of 30 workers is cranking out PCs, would any sane OEM pay one of them $50 more just for showing up? That’s not good business, especially when real competition shows up and doesn’t have to do that.

  6. bw says:

    As I understand it, the cost of making a phone or a tablet UI display is pretty much paid by the phone or tablet maker whereas the cost for a PC was built into Windows (or Mac OS where Apple still had to pay for it). Microsoft forced all the makers to do things the same way, of course, which removed that look and feel as a means of differentiating one PC from another. I don’t think that the overall price of a PC would have been much different if makers were left to their own efforts. Windows PCs are significantly less expensive than Macintosh for the same sort of spec level which suggests that the one size fits all approach of Windows might actually lower prices.

  7. bw wrote, “Traditional PC product market values are somewhat above $200B annually”

    I agree. Wintel drives up the price of IT drastically. People really can do the job with small cheap computers running */Linux because ARMed processors, ARMed motherboards and Free Software are less expensive than Wintel stuff. Rather than “market value”, I would call it market ripoff.

  8. bw says:

    These products are not like items. Traditional PC product market values are somewhat above $200B annually. Smartphone market values are estimated at $60B annually and tablet market values are even less at around $35B annually.

  9. networkcoder says:

    It’s interesting that Linux waited so many years for acceptance on the Desktop and thanks to the iPad revolution, Linux on Android is poised to be the majority OS that’ll be used in households for the next decade.
    The next decade is mostly LInux based OS’s on phones and tablets followed by iOS/MacOS devices and then the Wintel platofrm (which might end up ranking in the single digit percentages for user base.)

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