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Why The U.S. PC Market is On The Decline

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the going-down dept.

317

conq writes "BusinessWeek reports on the recent woes of Apple and Dell. One possible reason according to the article: 'imminent price wars'." From the article: "'There's a softness in the market that's building,' says Richard Shim, a senior research analyst at IDC. In the past two weeks, IDC cut its 2006 forecast for U.S. PC growth to 5.7%, from 6.8%. 'In '04 and '05 there was tremendous growth. In a market that's as mature as this industry is, there's no way you can maintain those levels.'"

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317 comments

Sort of a misleading summary. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721835)

The story's about Apple slumping along with the PC sales. (it's not just PC's). Without digging into the "Read more", its inclusion here almost implied that PC maker's sales were slumping vs Apple sales.

Re:Sort of a misleading summary. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15721851)

Er... did you read the same summary as me?

Re:Sort of a misleading summary. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722044)

I'm sure he did, but I believe he read it while looking through glasses that filter out Apple as a manufacturer of personal computers.

KFG

Re:Sort of a misleading summary. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722004)

Apple users are dying. Of AIDS.

Re:Sort of a misleading summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722084)

The summary states: "recent woes of Apple". I don't see how that can be misconstrued as anything positive for Apple.

Re:Sort of a misleading summary. (5, Insightful)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722198)

I couldn't figure out how a 5.7% growth is a "decline" until my wife walked in and told me how much money she saved me at the store because she bought all this stuff 50% off that we didn't need.

Old PCs Still Good (4, Insightful)

Slider451 (514881) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721839)

My fastest desktop at home, a P4 2.6 GHz w/ 1GB RAM, was built 3 years ago and still works just fine. Why upgrade?

Re:Old PCs Still Good (4, Insightful)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721866)

Exactly! The only real reason to upgrade these days is if you are a gamer...and unless you are into the high paced first person shooter games (not MMORPG) you will not upgrade at every new game release.

Things work fine, nothing new has come out to entice people into thinking they need a new system and people are "content" with their install of Windows XP.

(exactly)^2 (4, Interesting)

patiodragon (920102) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722060)

My computer was built in 2002, and for my home still serves as a fileserver for 4 computers and a test web and database server. The "kiosk" laptop we use to surf the web and play streaming music is a Pentium III. No problemos here with linuxes (statiticians, please add 3 to linux column and subtract same from Operating Systems "in use").

Vista is a great name for MS's next OS: Chance I would use it is WAY off in the distance.
-KB

Re:Old PCs Still Good and Net same speed (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722117)

Exactly! The only real reason to upgrade these days is if you are a gamer...and unless you are into the high paced first person shooter games (not MMORPG) you will not upgrade at every new game release.

That reminds me of my son's reaction when we brought home his new Mac mini with LCD flatscreen - the last computer I got him was an iMac, 8 years ago. We plug it in, connect it, and go on the Net.

His first reaction to the better graphics, faster CPU is "the Internet's not faster".

Duh ... we still were using the same Comcast high speed cable modem - it's not like it would suddenly "speed up".

Hence, why bother upgrading? The Net won't go any faster. Sure, maybe you'll get cooler graphics, or better resolution, but in the end if you spend 90 percent of your time online, you won't see much difference.

So a "slump" in growth (aka growth that in the 70s would have been "fantastic") is just the fact that we as a nation haven't moved to Gigapop Internet like most of the real industrialized nations have.

Re:Old PCs Still Good (1)

TripHammer (668315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721907)

Exactly. Some are probably holding their breath (suffocating?) for Vista as well.

Re:Old PCs Still Good (1)

duranaki (776224) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721939)

I'm sure it will be so worth the wait too. How exciting to get new lightning fast hardware to run a new OS at essentially the same speed as your old hardware and old OS. I'm in the same boat as this thread's origin: p4 2.4G with 1G of ram. My only desire to upgrade comes when I look at Fry's adds.

Re:Old PCs Still Good (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722040)

I agree. My Barton XP2600+ system got given a boost last weekend with an upgrade to 1GB of ram and a bit of soldering on the CPU socket pins to increase the FSB to 400MHz. It's now equivalent to an XP3200+ and the speed increase is very welcome, especially with the total lack of HD flapping once stuff is in file cache. It's a very snappy computer now. Still, when UT2007 comes out it might end up costing me ~$1000.

Re:Old PCs Still Good (2, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722071)

My general use machine at home is a Blue & White G3 upgraded to a 550 MHz G4. I've found that the videos at ABC.com require I hold down the mouse button to get a non-zero framerate. I never thought I'd need to grip a Dead Man's Switch to watch TV. My mother's eMac is faster than my machine.

I need a new desktop Mac. I'd buy a Quad Core G5 now if I knew an Intel Core Duo card for it that would let me run future Intel Mac binaries was coming. Especially if it meant I could have 64-bit quad core and 32-bit dual core running simultaneously. Instead I'm torturing myself waiting for the new Intel desktop Mac announcement and wondering if I should pre-purchase Parallels Desktop (there's a $30 rebate w/purchase of Windows that expires August 15, not applicable to the downloadable option), and I don't even know how many internal drive bays the new desktop model will have.

Re:Old PCs Still Good (0, Offtopic)

Jasin Natael (14968) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722114)

"Secret elements within the United States government seek to surveil us and control our lives."

Nice sig. However, shouldn't it be something closer to "Virtually all elements within the United States' government seek to surveil us and secretly control our lives."? The 'secret' part of that equation should be much further down in the heirarchy. :P

Re:Old PCs Still Good (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722155)

shouldn't it be something closer to "Virtually all elements..."

If it were, then it wouldn't be an accurate quote.

"What?!"
("Tell him about the hotel room bibles.")
("Mmm.")
("Yeah, I'm coming to that.")

Why quad? (3, Informative)

Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722190)

My general use machine at home is a Blue & White G3 upgraded to a 550 MHz G4.
If you have been putting up with a G3 that has been upgraded to a G4 (so it still has an ancient memory/ATA/system controllers) then why are you under the impression you need a Quad to replace it??

Any current Intel machine will blow that so far out of the water it just isn't funny. I have a G4 933 (QS 2002) and just got a Macbook. The Macbook is portable, uses less power, and spanks my G4 around the block as far as performance goes. Even with Parallels running and 2 VM's going. Seriously a MB or Mini Mac Intel would more than be a super upgrade for you. Obviously you don't need wiz-bang if you have been living with the B&W that long. Especially since we have definitely entered the realm of most new computers being capable of way more then you will typically ever use. I even use Protools regularly, and on the Macbook it has plenty of power for most of the sessions I run. I'll never have a deskop again, except in very special circumstances (perhaps an installed machine in a studio, but that isn't necessarily considered a general purpose computer anymore).

As another note, I have no idea what you are talking about with the $30 discount for Parallels with Windows, and I have checked their site. Their typical $30 discount, however, expires Tomorrow. So if you think you might go Intel in the near future you probably should act on it.

Re:Old PCs Still Good (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722150)

You're actually understating the issue. For the software that most people use, your processor is three, maybe even four, times as powerful as necessary. (RAM is kind of beside the point: you can always upgrade, and it's cheap as hell.) So it isn't just 3-year-old machines that people see no reason to upgrade -- it's machines that are much older!

Come to think of it, there's probably some connection between this issue, and the fact that Vista has extreme hardware requirements [bit-tech.net] . Does your P4 have good threading support? Does your motherboard include a PCI-E slot? No? Then dude, you better go out and buy a new system, or you won't get the "Vista Experience"!

My point Exactly (4, Interesting)

AnyThingButWindows (939158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722151)

G4 Sawtooth 450mhz updated to: 2.0ghz Powerlogix with, 2.0gb PC 133 ram, Radeon 9800 Pro 256mb, 80+120gb WD HDs running on ATA 66, + SATA 3.0 4 channel card running a 400gb Samsung + 16x Pioneer DVD+-RW. Tiger 10.4.7 / 19in Envision LCD.

This machine is 6 years old, and runs Quake 4, Doom 3, and Halo like a dream. I don't see any reason to upgrade to a G5 when I am running 86+ scores on Xbench. I probably won't upgrade for another year at least.

Yea, it has a 100mhz bus, and fights between resources, but if im doing one or 2 things at a time, it flies.

http://www.kore-net.com/office/sawtooth.jpg [kore-net.com]

Porn to the rescue? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722163)

Clearly, the Porn industry has to save the tech industry, as they often have, and come up with something new, much more processor intensive. Seeing as movies of most resolutions can be played too easily on modern hardware (and perhaps encoding takes a bit more time), it really is time to go with Virtual Reality. I can't wait to see the new computer accessories that the next generation brings - human/computer interface will be completely redefined:P

Many waiting for Vista (4, Insightful)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721850)

It makes sense: why upgrade now when you plan on upgrading your hardware for Vista? For better or worse MS drives home a lot of the hardware sales. Now next year should be a much better year.

Re:Many waiting for Vista (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721883)

You've got that backwards. Hardware sales drive Windows sales. The majority of Windows sales come from OEM preinstallations, which is why Vista adoption will be so slow in the mainstream market. I saw one analyst quoted many months ago guessing 38% Vista adoption by 2008. Just a guess, sure, but I wouldn't be surprised.

You're right... and it gets worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722105)

Nobody (almost) will run out and buy a new computer just so they can get Vista. Computer sales drive OS sales mostly. The economy is headed for a soft patch and most people's computers work well enough already. In fact, I see Vista hurting computer sales worse. Pre-Vista your computer will cost whatever. Once you have to take Vista with your computer, the new computer will cost 1.5 times whatever. In other words, the price of computers will rise because of Vista and that will hurt demand. So, my wag is that when Vista comes out, computer sales will go down some more.

Re:Many waiting for Vista (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721899)

For worse. :)

(sorry, had to be said. Coming from a Firefox/Core Duo Mac mini user)

I bet most consumers never heard of Vista (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15721906)

...and anyone who has heard about it probably only hears negative things.

Re:Many waiting for Vista (1)

penguinstorm (575341) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722034)

It makes sense because we've hit the tipping point.

As somebody above indicated, we've achieved a point where "Fast Enough" is a meaningful term.

We're doing the same things with computers we did 10 years ago, we're just doing them faster. There needs to be a revolution of functionality to spur demand.

My PowerBook G4 does everything I need it to fairly speedily.

It does a horrible job of decoding and playing back HDTV signals though...it's just not compelling enough to make me update yet.

Re:Many waiting for Vista (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722102)

There is room for growth, at the bottom. If a given configuration is "fast enough" which I do belive is true, then the new market is driving the cost, size and weight down. Essentially the OLPC "$100" laptop and what I call the 'bubble pack PC', a small cheap ($50-$200) PC, zero maintanence, sold in bubble packs as an impulse buy. These will be secondary machines, but they will change computing radically.

Yoda says... (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721853)

Begun, this price war has.

(I'm all for a little price war since I likes me cheap computers.)

Not on the decline! (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721865)

So Dell and Apple grow 1% slower than previously expected and suddenly the entire market is on the 'decline'? Let's put it back in perspective.

When they first started selling TVs, nobody had one, obviously. But very few could afford them, so they didn't sell many. Then they got cheaper, and more sold. And cheaper, and more, etc etc etc. Until everyone owned a TV. Oh no, people aren't buying as many TVs now. It's not because they are any less popular, or something replaced them. They are simply so common that there isn't a market for people that don't have one. There is only a market for replacements.

This is the market PCs are enterring. My mother and father each have a PC. They can barely use them, but find them essential. My younger sister has a laptop and a PC. I have a PC, a server-pc, a pc that doesn't even get turned on, an old 733mhz pc that's in the closet, a 500mhz laptop and a 133mhz laptop. Everyone I know has a PC. Or 6.

PCs are still in a growing market, as the 5.7% figure in the summary states. It simply isn't growing as fast. The real slump will hit when everyone has all the PCs they 'need' and are only buying replacements.

Re:Not on the decline! (5, Insightful)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721897)

Basically that is the same math they use in budget "cuts"

The people complaining about governmental budget cuts are still receiving MORE than they did last year, but at a lower rate of increase.

"ohhhh they cut our budget, instead of going up 25% this year it is going up a tiny 15%"

Unless you are receiving less money than last year, or not keeping up with inflation over a period of time longer than a single year you should be beaten if you claim it is a cut / decline,.

Re:Not on the decline! (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722095)

Unless you are receiving less money than last year, or not keeping up with inflation over a period of time longer than a single year you should be beaten if you claim it is a cut / decline,.

And unless you're being asked to do more for same amount of money. For example, in education you can get a budget increase of 5% and a pupil increase of 10%. You can hear the politicians about how they're spending more money on education but it's still a net decline. It works both ways...

Re:Not on the decline! (1)

coyotecult (647958) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722107)

Except in some govermental situations, a lower rate of increase really is more of a cut. Take the situation of education in a fast-growing district, for instance--the school district gets a lot more students in a year, but not as much funding per student, even though the total amount of funding went up.

Re:Not on the decline! except in basic science (2, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722130)

The people complaining about governmental budget cuts are still receiving MORE than they did last year, but at a lower rate of increase.

Wrong. They cut NIH funding to one-quarter what it used to be. Basic science was slashed, even while the WH was saying they were going to increase it.

Wake up and smell reality.

well to help understand (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722171)

that thinking, you should remember that the budget has been done. So when you go into the budget to make adjustments, it comes out as a decline.

People who do that for a living(accountants) understasnd what it means and the difference between ana ctuals decline and a budget decline. Unfortunatly newspapers tend to mangle it because they do not know the distintion.

Re:Not on the decline! (1)

penrodyn (927177) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722203)

If you generally get a 3% increase in a budget but then 'only' get 2%, it won't cover the other costs, such as salaries that have gone up by 3%, so you're short by 1%, what do you do? You fire someone. Reduced increases in budgets makes a real difference. You've probably never had to run a budget, but presumably one day you will and then you'll understand.

Re:Not on the decline! (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721962)

One could argue that Dell is down because HP finally has their shit together. And Apple's stock is driven much more by the iPod than PCs.

Not on the decline!-Adoptions vs births. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15721998)

"PCs are still in a growing market, as the 5.7% figure in the summary states. It simply isn't growing as fast. The real slump will hit when everyone has all the PCs they 'need' and are only buying replacements."

Your argument needs adjustment. First of all computers aren't like TV's. Second because of the above, the "replacement" cycle is much longer than the "upgrade" cycle. e.g. new video card. What will drive the uptake of computers is the same thing that's always driven it. What it allows you to do now, and in the future. e.g. video/sound editing, better games, etc.

Re:Not on the decline! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722017)

The real slump will hit when everyone has all the PCs they 'need' and are only buying replacements. - the real slump will hit when everyone has all the PCs they THINK they need :)

NEWSSHOCK: Sales below expectation 50% of time!!* (1)

fortinbras47 (457756) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722113)

* Assuming a non-skewed distribution (eg. normal distribution).

It amazes me how people freak out when something falls below its estimate. If X is normally distributed the actual value of X should fall below its expectation 50% of the time. If instead of expectation we're talking about the median, this is simply by definition. This isn't Statistics 101, this is like Statistics 0. But people still freak out. Sales figures, employment numbers, wage growth...

I'm just waiting for the headline, "50 Percent of Home Sales Exceed Median Price!!"

if you upgrade your hardware that is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15721868)

some might just upgrade their OS to something else...
or even run vista but without all extra eyecandy

-m10

Problems? (-1, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721872)

Apple: Overpriced crap

Dell: Limited selection

Maybe, just maybe, if companies stopped trying to be all exclusive and monopolistic people would appreciate their products.

That and it goes in cycles anyways. Once everyone gets their 2005 computer they're not likely to buy another overpriced monstrocity in 2006.

Tom

Re:Problems? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722093)

Maybe, just maybe, if companies stopped trying to be all exclusive and monopolistic people would appreciate their products.

Yeah, and maybe I'm a Chinese jet pilot.

Stupid Title (4, Informative)

panaceaa (205396) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721875)

The title of this article is "Why The U.S. PC Market is On The Decline", but right in the summary it says that IDC expects the PC market to grow 5.7%!! That's not decline.

Re:Stupid Title (3, Insightful)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721944)

It's just like how many people in government scream when they get their spending "cut". Not always really a "cut", but less than what it was set to increase. It happens everywhere. "Oh no! I only got a 3% increase instead of a 4% increase! I'll call it a spending cut and get people incensed!"

Re:Stupid Title (2, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722012)

The title of this article is "Why The U.S. PC Market is On The Decline", but right in the summary it says that IDC expects the PC market to grow 5.7%!! That's not decline.

There's a decrease in the amount of increase. Clearly you need to brush up on your journalistic doublespeak.

Re:Stupid Title (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722181)

Enroll in a business school. They'll suck out your brain^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^'splain it to you.

KFG

We just need another Y2K7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15721885)

Or MS needs to get on the ball and write more bloatware....

Re:We just need another Y2K7 (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721942)

This isn't far from the truth. Microsoft was delayed in NT5 (Windows 2000) but we had the Y2K bug to drive sales. The delay for Vista is actually longer and no date sensitive bug this time. Add to that the fact the consoles are providing gamers their fix for the high end and we can see a slower market until Vista ships.

Vista Factor (2, Insightful)

guabah (968691) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721887)

Among the concerns: delays in key computer-related technologies including the latest Microsoft (MSFT) operating system and next-generation DVD players.
Many potential buyers are waiting for Vista to be released before getting a new PC. If I were planning to get a new PC(And if use windows at all) I would certainly wait for vista to be released next year.

Re:Vista Factor (1, Insightful)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721923)

I have not heard a single normal customer say "Hey, you know what, I am gonna wait for Vista to come out first"

Outside of people directly in the IT field, hardly anyone cares about Vista. MS VIsta is not even on the scope of people's purchasing desires. The best buy guy may try to push the machine that is upgradeable to vista (which those customers simply wont be doing anyways) and they usually say "yeah thats nice, i may not know about computers, but I do know its not worth upgrading"

Wallstreet Nonsense (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721893)

Gee Dell and Apple will be announcing their projected numbers in a few days. Well, I guess we'd all better listen to the "analysts" whose accuracy rate is about the same as flipping a coin. Speculation and stock fluctuations before these announcements is pretty much par for the course as people make guesses in the hopes of a stock market win. The rest of us, however, are a lot more concerned about Q1 and Q2 numbers that actaully, you know are how much they are selling.

Because the housing ATM is tapped (5, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721904)

3+ gal gasoline and higher cost of borrowing are beginning to weigh the US consumer. Things are going to get much worse.

MOD PARENT UP! (n/m) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722007)

Parent nailed it...

Re:Because the housing ATM is tapped (-1, Troll)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722079)

3+ gal gasoline and higher cost of borrowing are beginning to weigh the US consumer. Things are going to get much worse.

Oh goodie. If you kill yourself, can I have your stuff?

Re:Because the housing ATM is tapped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722141)

Now I see why you are trapped alone by yourself. That moniker probably applies to a lot of activities, does it not?

Re:Because the housing ATM is tapped (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722182)

"Help me take back Slashdot. When did 'News for Nerds' become 'FUD and Conspiracy Theories for Extremist Nutjobs'?"

1998.

Slowing growth is not decline! (1)

27,000 (987534) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721913)

They're selling more units this year than they did previously, numbers seem to be up across the board, but... oh, say market analyists. They didn't grow as much as we expected. And somehow they blame HD-DVD and Blu-Ray for the 'slump'.

Conroe and a huge price cut for AMD products were both announced months ago. Perhaps consumer sales were down as we've all been waiting for the C2D launch? And can anyone explain how the PC industry is in decline?

Re:Slowing growth is not decline! (1)

27,000 (987534) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721929)

And once my comment goes through half a dozen others have said my point more eloquently! Hurrah, redundant!

Re:Slowing growth is not decline! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722135)

"Perhaps consumer sales were down as we've all been waiting for the C2D launch?"
no.

The people who even are aware of it aren't a signifigant amout of consumer. Out side your tech friends you would be hard pressed to find anyone who is holding off on a purchase becasue of this.

It's just the begininng of the flattening of sales becasue PCs are good enough to last 4-5 years for most consumers.
And a lot more consumers have PCs then 5 years ago.

Slowing Growth != Decline (1, Redundant)

dsn1337 (965775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721918)

Analysts are predicting lower growth, not negative growth. And since the market isnt growing as fast as wallstreet likes, share prices take a hit. Apparantly, having sales of only $4.8 billion is not enough for them, it must be $5 billion...

Re:Slowing Growth != Decline (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721967)

exactly why we really shouldn't care much about what these people say..

personaly i own too many computers.. and the only ones i don't build my self are laptops (you can but a pain in the ass)

they are making money.. that should make people happy..

as goes for the stock holders.. well personaly stocks are bets and any company that goes public in my mind doesn't have a personal vision or can't do math.........

Apple Dumped By IBM (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15721925)

When IBM dumped Apple a couple years ago leading to the infamous Jobs WWDC damage control presentation it was clear Mac hardware was on its way out.

The computing world just isn't looking to overpay for x86 boxes with the Apple logo on them.

Apple knows this of course. Rather than pull the plug on the Mac hardware outright, Apple is playing it smart and using the sales of these Intel base Macs as a way of easing out of the desktop hardware market. Apple wants to transform itself into a digital media company.

The suckers overpaying for Apple x86 hardware are helping them make that transition.

Desktop computer hardware is all headed to Asia. The era of the desktop is over - the big growth is all in small, portable, wireless computing devices. Of course desktops aren't going to disappear but no one is going to get rich from selling desktop computer hardware anymore.

Re:Apple Dumped By IBM (3, Insightful)

xjerky (128399) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722064)

Apple has yet to release an actual "Desktop" x86 machine, so hold your conclusion until then. So far, the x86 line is filled with competitively-priced 'specialty' items, like the iMac, Mac Mini, and Macbook (+pro).

Re:Apple Dumped By IBM (3, Insightful)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722091)

Apple has yet to release an actual "Desktop" x86 machine ... So far, the x86 line is filled with competitively-priced 'specialty' items, like the iMac, Mac Mini, and Macbook (+pro).

I guess it depends on how you define "desktop". The iMac is more of a "desktop" machine, in the literal sense of the word, than is the Power Mac - the Power Mac in my office isn't on the top of my desk, it's underneath the desk. You could put a Power Mac tower on your desk, but if you put an iMac on the floor, you're not going to be able to use it conveniently from your desk (unless you ssh into it from a machine on your desk).

The iMac is the consumer "desktop" (as opposed to "laptop") model in the Apple line (although the Mac Mini could also be used with a monitor as a desktop); the Mac Pro or whatever it'll be called will be the "professional" desktop.

Re:Apple Dumped By IBM (1)

xjerky (128399) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722121)

Well, part of my point is that there are not many non-Apple solutions for the form-factor that the Minis and iMac provides, so it's hard to judge whether or not they are 'overpriced'.

As far as the laptops go, various comparisons posted here show that if you stricticly try to match features and specs, Apple's prices are pretty much in-line with the competition.

I'm interested in seeing how Apple prices their "pro" line, however. If Apple tries to charge $2000 for exactly what Dell charges $500 for, I'll be the first in line to cry foul.

Re:Apple Dumped By IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722170)

Well, part of my point is that there are not many non-Apple solutions for the form-factor that the Minis and iMac provides, so it's hard to judge whether or not they are 'overpriced'.

They're called laptops.

Re:Apple Dumped By IBM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722122)

"competitively-priced "

The only way one could call Apple's x86 machines as 'competitively-priced' is if you do the equivalent of what pc fans used to do by going to the Apple Store and loading up a Mac with a maximum amount RAM and claiming Macs cost 5000+ grand each.

If you paid the same price for a similar spec x86 machine from HP or Dell as a Mac - you got reamed on the Dell or HP.

Apple's x86 machines very much have a 'we don't give a shit' anymore feel to them. Depressing for anyone who's used Macs going all the way back to the original.

Re:Apple Dumped By IBM (1)

IdolizingStewie (878683) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722178)

claiming Macs cost 5000+ grand each

You've got to admit $5 million is a pretty expensive computer for a consumer, no matter what kind of upgrades it's got.

Re:Apple Dumped By IBM (1)

xjerky (128399) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722183)

Specs are only a part of the picture. Form factor is another, well, factor. I wanted a small, (relatively) low-power, quiet, and lightweight machine that I could run both OS X and XP on. The mini is pretty much the only game in town in that regard, so it's hard to say whether or not I got 'reamed'. I know ASUS makes something similar, but it's actaully a bit taller.

Like I said, Apple will lose this advantage once they release a 'standard' tower. So they better either supercharge the CPU/GPU/RAM specs, or they better lower the price. I suspecr they'll go the former route since Apple just doesn't like to charge less than 4 figures for a full desktop.

um.. the train just left (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722176)

and I wasn't on it.

Well personally (1)

p!ssa (660270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721936)

I have been waiting to upgrade for quite a while, my old A64 3200 is getting long in the tooth. I was almost biting on the A64 X2 but I just couldnt pry my frozen wallet open at the prices they were charging, then all of the conroe speculation started coming out. After all the C2D news thats came out today I am ready to buy the E6600 as soon as they are available (assuming the posted pricing holds). As for the articles statement that M$ Vista is keeping everyone from upgrading... what kind of crack is this guy smoking. Im sure there are people who will upgrade thier PC's when it is released but I dont know anybody who sees it as a driving force. The people I know have been hedging thier bets waiting to see how the Intel/AMD next gen played out and it seems most are along the same mindset as myself, the new Core 2's are it. Now its just figuring if you want to wait abit longer for the NVidia chipset or some other related tech. Even my "hardcore" AMD groupie friends are giving up on the "buy the x2 after the price drop" and going with the E6600 or E6700, I dont know anyone yet that is going to drop the coin for the extreme.

Re:Well personally (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722074)

I'm still running an a64 3500 and i like it enough that i dont need to go higher just yet. Although i would like to upgrade.

I'm also still running a dual 2000+ amd system... and a p 1.6ghz pc... and i have a laptop thats a p4 3ghz

Really, the dual 2000+ does most stuff fine.

The only real reason to upgrade is for games or software reasons. Right now there just arent any games for the pc that are worth buying or upgrading for.

One word... (2, Interesting)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721938)

... Virtualization.

  A friend of mine gave me a dual P3 933 machine with a gig of ram, I put a 100gig sata drive in it, and put Vmware server on it. Now I have 12 virtual machines defined... (no for all you picky types, not all run at the same time, 3-4 at most) ... and out went all the old hardware in the basement. My wife was happy.

  Of course, I'd like to buy a nicer 64 bit machine for this server ... but I have the ability to sit back and wait.

Re:One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722026)

You're honestly saying Virtualization is why the PC market is slowing down?

How the crap did this get modded up?

BS (1, Redundant)

bean123456789 (938830) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721948)

So because of a 1% decline in the GROWTH of the market, pc sales are suddenly in a downward spiral?!?
Sounds like sensationalist press to me.

It's a miracle the market is growing as it is.. (4, Insightful)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721968)

It's a miracle the market is growing as it is.. For a while now, your 2 or 3 year old computer has been "good enough" for most people. Why would you upgrade if you don't really do new stuff with it? As I see it, reasons for buying a new computer are;
- you don't have one yet (which is getting more and more unlikely)
- you're doing new stuff with it, such as getting broadband or editing homevideos
- you're a nerd/geek/gamer
- it's broken in some fashion.

In other words; a replacement market.
Now, the OEMs know this. This is why Dell is getting into sidelines like PDAs, digital cameras, TV screens etc.
And, in a certain way, they've always known this. OEMs have always sold PCs that were essentially underspecced when it came to the cheapest upgrade; RAM. A 1GB P3 will simply do for most people. I bet they're glad they shipped them with 256MB (or "double your ram limited time only offer" 512MB).

A cynical mind might think that this is part of the reason why OEMs include so much "handy" bundled software.. Fill up that memory good, let the apps update (get bigger) once in a while, so the system gets cruftier and cruftier. Have the anti-virus software disable after a month or two to lower defenses..

There actually are (I'm afraid to say: a lot) of people who buy a new computer simply because the old one got so bogged down with spyware. Dell should have a checkbox on their order pages "[x] my old computer is teh broken with virusses" so they can pick up the old computer as they bring the new one, and ship the old one to Africa, where a simple linux install makes it usable for at least another 3 years..

Re:It's a miracle the market is growing as it is.. (1)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722108)

Amen,

I was brought to the same conclusions when I bought a Mac and realized that I needn't upgrade for web browsing and photos. The Mac unlike Windows PCs needn't re-installs, anti-virus and al.

Re:It's a miracle the market is growing as it is.. (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722199)

You just described my father in law. He used to constantly be buying new machines. Then he put in a router with a firewall. His purchasing has slowed considerably, although I'm betting he'll buy a new one soon.

My upgrade standards... (1)

infosec_spaz (968690) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721971)

I usually will not upgrade until I can double the speed of my processor, HD, etc. I currently run an AMD 1.6ghz with enormous storage and nice video card...I could probably double that right now, but my Guild Wars runs just fine on it :o)

Look You Insular Propellerheads (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15721974)

Joe Sixpack isn't holding off buying a new box because of Vista. Only nerds do that. Joe is content with what he's got.

It's a case of technology vs. demand (3, Insightful)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721976)

In the past, the PC market would advance at an alarming rate. If you bought a PC in 1995, lets say a 486, then three years later it would make total sense to upgrade to the newer P2 processors that were out at the time because the performance leap was huge and commercial software was taking advantage of the new speed.

These days, i find the average home PC for Average Joe Family need no more than a >2Ghz CPU, = 1GB RAM, ~80GB, GeForce 6200 or the likes. This computer would handle Word Processing, Internet Browsing, email and even simple multimedia (digital photos, whatnot). I think it's fair to estimate this PC was a decent 'new' computer back in 2003.

What has changed for the home user? Windows XP is still the operating system in use. IE hasn't changed much, nor has Office. With that in mind, is it entirely necessary for this family to purchase a new PC? Probably not.

It boils down to the only thing driving new PC sales is new games, honestly.. and since many home PC users aren't into the latest games at the HIGHEST FPS possible, then of course PC sales are going to sag.

Re:It's a case of technology vs. demand (1)

xystren (522982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722143)

What has changed for the home user? Windows XP is still the operating system in use. IE hasn't changed much, nor has Office. With that in mind, is it entirely necessary for this family to purchase a new PC? Probably not.
And not to mention, that my typing speed hasn't changed that much. My old Apple //c could keep up easily enough.... Hell, even my TimexSinclair 1000 can keep up with my typing.

With the speed and power increases we are talking, we should be able to mind meld with the things...

Xyst

Why even ask? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721983)

Today's PCs are more powerful then most people need, and upgrading doesnt really get you much. ( yes, i know, vista is coming down the pike to obsolete your current pc.. ) except something new and shiny.

Except for a tiny few, the PC sits and waits for you 90% of the time now.. So having a few % speed increase only means it waits for you even more..

Lack of advancements (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 7 years ago | (#15721984)

I chalk whatever small decline there is to the lack of advancements. CPU performance hasnt made any huge gains lately. GPU performance has been good but most PCs come with integrated graphics. The only people pushing hard are the enthusiasts.

I'm not shocked (5, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722024)

If all you need your PC for is Microsoft word and powerpoint from time to time, and you already have something 900mhz or above, why on earth do you need another PC? It's hard to think in terms of an ordinary user, but there are typicaly only a few reasons to upgrade.

1. What you need to do takes too long
2. It broke and repair is to damn costly
3. You need more "memory" (where memory = either ram or HD), need a burner, or need that spiffy software application which comes with the new PC.
4. There is a super duper deal with losts of extras you don't need.

From a goodwill standpoint, while there are still a number of PCs in the pentium I class, I'm starting to see quite a few AMD durons with gigs of HD space, a modest compliment of memory, and still operational save the spyware infections. I have to say the market is pretty saturated with PCs, more PCs than you can shake a stick at, so many that dell is apparently offering their Dimension 1100 for $50 plus tax and a modest fee for shipping, or free "designated carrier".

Re:I'm not shocked (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722157)

so many that dell is apparently offering their Dimension 1100 for $50 plus tax and a modest fee for shipping, or free "designated carrier".

I stand corrected, as of this moment the price jumped back up to $299

Enclosed are the details I was quoting that no longer exist.
[data regarding my obsolete price quote]
Dimension 1100 Qty 1
            Intel® Celeron® D Processor 325 (2.53 GHz, 533 FSB), Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition Unit Price $349.00
        Save $300 on select Point of Sale Solutions through Dell Small Business
Expires Wednesday, July 19th!
Catalog Number: 4 DIM11MIN
  Module Description Show Details
Processor Intel® Celeron® D Processor 325 (2.53 GHz, 533 FSB)
Operating System Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition
Memory 256MB DDR SDRAM at 400MHz
Keyboard Dell USB Keyboard
Monitors 17 inch E773 (16 inch viewable) Conventional CRT
[end data]

Re:I'm not shocked (1)

LindseyJ (983603) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722165)

It's hard to think in terms of an ordinary user,

So you're the guy that makes all those horrible, counterintuitive UIs!

It's always struck me as ridiculous... (0, Redundant)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722025)

... that we can somehow consider 5.7% growth DECLINE. Damn analysts...

Rise of the games consoles ? (3, Insightful)

Quiberon (633716) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722054)

I think it's a combination of 'home entertainment' being done better on the games consoles (surely XBox360 must be a growth market), and 'corporate' users figuring that a long-life PC (with parts replacement) is more environmentally friendly, does not fill up and pollute landfill space so quickly. Should a corporate PC now have a lifespan of 10 years rather than 3 years ? If Microsoft won't supply a software maintenance service at competitive prices, that leaves doors open for the likes of RedHat and Novell who certainly will.

From what I can see of Microsoft Windows Vista, it's aimed at the games market.

Corporate/professional use just doesn't get anything more out of Vista than XP; it's not as if a new version of Microsoft Word will help you think and express yourself more clearly than the old one does.

Clock speeds might be another reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15722061)

Over the last few years PC clock speeds have not changed, RAM and storage plentiful. In other words the PC industry has little more to offer to entice technology upgraders. Unless there is some dramatic change in the capabilities there is very little reason for anyone who owns a PC to upgrade.

Typical Business Minds (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722080)

This is a close similarity to how the business minds think at my company.

"OMG! Our growth that's been a constant uphill for the past 11 months is starting to level off! What're we gonna do?!?!"

These are obviously not technical analysts nor even analysts who keep up with technical journals, websites or the geek who fixes their overpriced, overpowered laptop.

Do they have any clue of what's going on in the industry right now or in PC consumers' minds? Obviously not.

Intel Core 2 Duo launch. Personally I think this is where MOST of the slow down is. Every technically minded person I know of who has considered an upgrade over the past two years is waiting for this.

AM2 and beyond. We've just seen AMD announce a counterstrike to Intel. Who knows what they'll pull out by the end of the year?

Vista delay? So what. Vista is not going to be so different that any hardware coming out today will not run it. I don't see this as a factor.

Apple and iPods. Personally, I just think that the 40% of the population that wanted one and could afford one now has one. As prices come down, the rest of us might get one, but I haven't seen the price drop significantly since the launch of each different model. I won't be getting one anytime soon. I'd like to buy a Mac, too, but again, that's a great deal of money for a guy who tends to build his own PCs.

The really interesting story is going to occur over the next three months.

C2D launches. Bleeding edge, hobbyists, do-it-yourself-ers and the gotta-have-it-now's all go crazy and suck up the first available chips. Whatever computer manufacturing companies have systems ready to build and sell when the chip launches will make a killing. Will Dell be on board? I doubt it because Dell waits for price breaks of just-below-the-leading-edge products, so they'll be behind just because of their business model. Yet since they're in bed with Intel, they might have a price break advantage with the DPAs that will give them an edge at the start of this massive buying wave.

As each progressively faster chip is launched, we'll see waves of this occuring again. Who knows how AMD will factor into this.

The article sounds like a big panic over nothing. I think I'll go buy some Intel stock and watch it explode over the latter half of this year.

Re:Typical Business Minds (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722112)

It's slowing down because the practical usefull lifespan of computers is increasing.
Until the CPU died, I was running the latestest games and microsoft programming tools on a 1.8 Ghz box with 768Megs of RAM.
Now I ahve upgraded to a 3Ghz and 1 Gig of RAM my compile times have been cut buy only 25%, and the increase game performances was good, but not spectaular, or nearly twice as good.

I remember (as do many of you, I'm sure) when in order to play the newest games you HAD to buy a new processor. Not any more.

Re:Typical Business Minds (1)

myz24 (256948) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722201)

I agree. The non-profit I work for is now starting to get donations of the late PIII and early P4 systems. These systems were all released around the time XP was and are all very capable of running XP+Office, or just about anything a small business or home user would want to do. There is little reason for your average person to buy a new one when you consider how different things are today. A 1.8 to 3.0 increase isn't much, it's nothing compared to the Pentium 166 to 1Ghz jump I made "back in the day."

Since when is 4.6 pct growth not good? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722088)

The problem with the current crop of economists is they all grew up (academically) in the boom-boom 90s. They have no perspective.

There is nothing wrong with a growth rate of 1 or 2 percent. 4.6 percent is more than the population growth, for example. It no more represents a "slump" than does the fact that my vastly overvalued house has only grown in value from $400,000 to $425,000 this year, when last year it grew from $375,000 to $400,000. Technically, that's a lower percentage rate increase, but since I bought the thing for $265,000 in 1999 after selling a prior house I bought for $115,000 in 1992 (thanks, Microsoft!), it's still vastly ridiculous.

There are entire cities in my state where my two-bedroom three-floor condo would be worth maybe $80,000 - today.

So, just because prices aren't drastically increasing means very little.

Also, why should a laptop cost $3000? I bought mine for $500, it's got more power than I need, a nice AMD 2600 CPU, works fine, 11b/g wireless. Most electronics that started selling in the multi-thousands eventually settle down in the $300-$500 range after they become consumer electronics, why should computers be different? It's like HDTV - it may cost $4900 right now, but in three years a better model will be selling for probably $300 retail.

And the Apple prices have more to do with the move to Intel chips, and the subsequent lack of interest, since people can just go out and buy a Linux box for a lot less.

Spyware factor (2, Insightful)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 7 years ago | (#15722180)

Many folks just scrap their PCs every year and get a new one rather than paying Geeksquad to fix the old one...this is a HUGE problem; imagine if folks just scrapped their cars in stead of changing the sparkplugs.

this is contributing to a forthcoming social, ecological and economic disaster...and I am saying this as a conservative!

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