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PC Makers In Desperate Need of a Reboot

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the road-less-traveled dept.

HP 622

nmpost writes in with a story about how hard it is to be a successful PC company in today's world. "Hewlett-Packard Co. used to be known as a place where innovative thinkers flocked to work on great ideas that opened new frontiers in technology. These days, HP is looking behind the times. Coming off a five-year stretch of miscalculations, HP is in such desperate need of a reboot that many investors have written off its chances of a comeback. Consider this: Since Apple Inc. shifted the direction of computing with the release of the iPhone in June 2007, HP's market value has plunged by 60 percent to $35 billion. During that time, HP has spent more than $40 billion on dozens of acquisitions that have largely turned out to be duds so far. HP might have been unchallenged for the ignominious title as technology's most troubled company if not for one its biggest rivals, Dell Inc. Like HP, Dell missed the trends that have turned selling PCs into one of technology's least profitable and slowest growing niches. As a result, Dell's market value has also plummeted by 60 percent, to about $20 billion, since the iPhone's release."

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HP Sux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139719)

HP? really?

The PC is Dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139755)

The PC is dying. The most recent quarterly results [] confirm it, as Apple alone announced 12 M iPad tablet sales, overwhelming Dell's mere 9 M PC sales. The consumer market is especially bad as laptop prices continue to fall to record lows without stimulating sales. Intel's Ultrabook initiative has already been declared a failure. If not for third-world markets, the PC would be in complete freefall.

Meanwhile, the retail segment continues to collapse. Best Buy reports record losses while laying off hundreds of Geek Squad technicians, the lifeline of consumer PC support. Soon it may be impossible to purchase a PC from a major name brand retailer. Consumers wanting a PC will need to enter shady inner-city shops selling off-brand merchandise.

Worse, the outlook for the PC looks especially foreboding with Microsoft's poorly-received Windows 8 OS on the horizon. Leading PC game developer Gabe Newell is convinced [] that Windows 8 will devastate what remains of the PC industry and force major OEMs to close shop. Massive discontent about Windows 8 fomenting on the Internet will only further push consumers into the tablet market.

The situation in Enterprise is even more grim. Most large businesses have standardized on Windows XP, Internet Explorer, and applications built on obsolete frameworks such as VisualBASIC. As far as business is concerned, the PC is as mortified as a Selectric Typewriter [] . No major PC upgrades will likely occur ever again. Meanwhile, nearly all major corporations are experimenting with tablets and developing modern mobile applications.

Hewlett-Packard has already publicly expressed serious doubts about the future of the PC market. IBM wisely abandoned it years ago. Margins are already below zero as PCs are loss-leaders for IT outsourcing and other services. Second-tier CPU builder AMD is reportedly close to bankruptcy. In a few years, Chinese conglomerates will control all manufacture and distribution.

While the Amazing Kreskin [] may predict the future, most computer nerds are too myopic to grok the obvious conclusion. They blindly cling to beige turbo-buttoned clones while debating the latest window manager advancements. Soon, they too will be seen as relics, just like the seldom-used PCs pushed into dusty cubical corners, much like the dumbterms which preceded them. Ding dong, indeed the PC is already dead. The new era has begun.

VBI (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41139829)

How about resurrecting the VBI project?

Re:The PC is Dying (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139909)

What device did you type this long, goofy post out on?

Re:The PC is Dying (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139993)

Noob. He just changed a few words from this [] .

Re:The PC is Dying (5, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41140021)

It's only dying as a consumer appliance. Professionals and power users will always need a powerful general-purpose computer with a real input device (a.k.a. keyboard) and a screen bigger than 10 inches.

Re:The PC is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140065)

Well, sure, but they won't be buying a new one every two years, and the margins for HP and Dell and such will be razor-thin.

Re:The PC is Dying (5, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 years ago | (#41140177)

Well, sure, but they won't be buying a new one every two years, and the margins for HP and Dell and such will be razor-thin.

Their profits are actually quite good. But then you subtract all the money they pay to incompetent executives, and all the money they waste on pointless mergers and acquisitions, and suddenly they are losing money.

Re:The PC is Dying (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#41140101)

The problem is, once consumers stop buying them, economics turns against the pros. Also, are you under the impression that tablets/phones wont be able to dock up to a real 'workstation' with a screen that is > 10 inches???

Re:The PC is Dying (4, Interesting)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41140181)

There will always be someone to service the market. We use all sorts of weird PCs for data capture and analysis at work. The company that makes our sells a few hundred a year tops. Doctorow rants about civil wars aside, there will always be a nice for general purpose (or high end specialty) computing.

Re:The PC is Dying (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 2 years ago | (#41140115)

Or, you know, the PC market may just be retreating into its respective niche of the computing market. Doesn't mean it's dying. Bold claims should be backed up by solid evidence and sound reasoning.

Re:The PC is Dying (4, Insightful)

humphrm (18130) | about 2 years ago | (#41140187)

(Replying to Original Commenter's comment): Yeah, HP sucks, but so does Dell and Acer and Gateway and everyone else who makes PCs.

(Replying to both comments, but mostly AC's): I think you over estimate the demise of the PC and also don't understand what they are used for in Enterprise. I agree that, in general, the PC business is declining. I think that will result in a lot of consolidation, likely into segments where the consumer PC business will consist entirely of low end PCs and the enterprise business will consist mostly of high end servers. And HP's bread and butter is in the Enterprise, so I suspect that a company like Acer or Dell will end up "owning" that business and HP will "own" the Enterprise business. Everyone else will go out of business.

Speaking of enterprise, there are a LOT of applications running on PCs in the enterprise. Salespeople run client / contact management software, account managers run portfolio analysis software, HR runs tons of HR-related apps, there's a myriad of software running on desktops in the enterprise and upgrades are required all the time. I don't see PeopleSoft being replaced by an iPhone app anytime soon.

Re:The PC is Dying (5, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 2 years ago | (#41140193)

The PC market is in decline, but it is not dying and will not die in the near future. The main reason for sluggish PC sales is that the technology has reached a peak at the moment (or you might say it has finally matured) and consumers no longer need to buy a new system every couple of years just to keep up. Since the dawn of the PC era users have had to constantly upgrade their hardware to run that new OS, that new game, or that new multimedia application. That time has ended. A decent system bought 5 years ago will still run everything it needs to.

True, the rise of tablets and smartphones also gnaw at the PC market, because some people only want to check their email and log onto Facebook, but the power, flexibility and usability of the PC will remain indispensable for a large amount of users and professionals.

Re:The PC is Dying (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41140205)

"If not for third-world markets, the PC would be in complete freefall."

Strange, Apple keeps selling record numbers of Macs. Perhaps there's something wrong with the rest of the PC industry.

Re:The PC is Dying (5, Insightful)

babywhiz (781786) | about 2 years ago | (#41140217)

Stop that. Please, I beg of you. Stop saying PC dying. I have yet to see a tablet that can handle the Autocad/Mastercam/Catia drawings that we work with. I don't want to be stuck having to build this shit from scratch, or purchase a server just so people can use the software they have to use every day.

Before you all go off on 'virtual server/blahblah' I'm telling you, we have tried, and nothing beats having each user have a PC at their desk using the software to do their work. Just because we can make the PC last 5 years before having to replace it, doesn't mean that the PC is dying.

Keep your stupid investor hands off the PC market. Seriously. - Love, Aerospace Manufacturing

Re:The PC is Dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140269)

Idiots, saying idiot things, because they're idiots.

Re:HP Sux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139843)

HP and Dell are the Nokia and RIM of the computer world. Has beens.

Re:HP Sux (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#41139987)

I wish dell would have built something as durable as a Nokia in their time though...

Re:HP Sux (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 years ago | (#41140083)

HP is Nokia; Dell is RIM.

Re:HP Sux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140165)

I can has beans?

Dell were cooking books (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139723)

A large portion of the reasons for Dell's collapse was because they were caught lying about their accounting.

Re:Dell were cooking books (4, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41139749)

A large portion of the reasons for Dell to lie about their accounting was that they didn't want anyone to figure that they were collapsing.

Re:Dell were cooking books (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140063)

A large portion of the reasons for Dell to lie about their accounting was that they didn't want anyone to figure that they were collapsing.

And still, both are doing gangbusters compared to Yahoo, and RIM, and Nokia... "technology's most trouble company" my ass.

Reboot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139725)

Boot... Micro$oft

fire the board. (0, Flamebait)

noh8rz7 (2706405) | about 2 years ago | (#41139729)

Remember when Carli Fiorina was in charge at HP? She seemed to have a good vision, but was pushed out in boardroom drama. Then the whole board spying thing, then mark hurd and the lady friend.

I would fire the whole board and start fresh there. Get some good leadership at the top! start in WebOS. Even if it's not perfect, HP needs two sticks to rub together.

Re:fire the board. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139745)

Why do you constantly make new "noh8rz" accounts when your karma gets too low? What's the game?

Re:fire the board. (-1, Offtopic)

noh8rz7 (2706405) | about 2 years ago | (#41140043)

why? because slashdot constantly silences dissenting voices by modding them down into oblivion. if you don't like what somebody says, then just mark them troll until all their posts have -1! that way nobody needs to see them. I'm sorry, but I refuse to bow to the gods of google, android, bitcoin, assange, and anonymous. i'm not going to let others silence me, nor am I going to soften my tone to appease the moderators.

If I have to keep iterating accounts to keep my voice, then so be it!

Re:fire the board. (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#41140173)

I say and speak my mind all the time around here. I get troll as well as insightful often. If all you are getting is troll to the point your karma is so low you have to make another account, perhaps you dont know your audience and you would be better served by another community of like-minded individuals. Im not saying 'get out' im saying evaluate your effectiveness to this particular audience.

Re:fire the board. (5, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 years ago | (#41140265)

It's all in how you phrase your responses; I almost always have karma overload, and yet I do the odd bit of trolling, and tend to disagree with people when I actually disagree.

There's a difference between bowing to the popular view and alienating those who hold the view.

You make a lot of very good points, but waste them by making a lot of unsubstantiated accusations in the same posts. When you then make a few bad poitns and make unsubstantiated accusations in the same posts, people flag you as a troll, and will treat you as such even when you say something valid using the same tone.

People don't like being called idiots, and they don't like those they admire being called idiots. If you instead follow the socratic method, ask more questions, question people's logic instead of their humanity, you'll find you get +5 instead of -1.

Has someone written a "How to have karma without being a whore" FAQ? If not, they should.

Re:fire the board. (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#41139895)

Remember when Carli Fiorina was in charge at HP? She seemed to have a good vision

I'm sorry, what? I had to re-read that a few times... Really? Carli Fiorina had a good vision for HP? Wow. Simply wow...

Re:fire the board. (5, Funny)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 2 years ago | (#41140055)

Using company money to buy a yacht is actually a really good idea. Definitely what I would do if I had that job.

Re:fire the board. (5, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#41140157)

Agreed. Compared to buying Palm, buying a Yacht is a really good idea. I assume the yacht still has some residual value....

Re:fire the board. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140203)

I was at Lucent when Carly was there - I thought she was a waste of space then, and I was shocked when HP hired her. HP was "Bill and Dave's company" - by and for engineers making great products. It was obvious to this outsider Carly was the wrong choice - I had no idea how right I was. A friend in HP Sales confirmed there was dancing in the hallways the day the HP board finally canned Carly. The only good part of HP that is left isn't HP at all - Agilent Technologies is as close as we have to what Bill and Dave started.

Re:fire the board. (2)

noh8rz7 (2706405) | about 2 years ago | (#41140071)

if she had time, then she could have led a big turnaround. she just didnt have time to articulate her vision.similar for her star-crossed run for senate.

Re:fire the board. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140095)

Remember when Carli Fiorina was in charge at HP? She seemed to have a good vision

I'm sorry, what? I had to re-read that a few times... Really? Carli Fiorina had a good vision for HP? Wow. Simply wow...

this is so typical of the kind of sexism so often encountered in business

Re:fire the board. (4, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#41140137)

I assumed he meant Carli's eyesight wasn't bad. Nothing else made sense.

Re:fire the board. (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 years ago | (#41140081)

I would fire the whole board and start fresh there. Get some good leadership at the top!

And how exactly would you do that? The whole system is corrupt and completely rigged for the specific purpose of preventing that from happening. Things like special classes of stock which are only given to select insiders and that give them increased numbers of votes over the "regular" shareholders , making it impossible for "dissident" or "activist" shareholders to have any power.

Re:fire the board. (1)

noh8rz7 (2706405) | about 2 years ago | (#41140169)

if the board had any balls/lady-balls they would all resign en masse, I would bring in bill campbell for one, and definitely tim cook.

Didn't they want to already? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139747)

And when HP wanted to purge itself o the 'PC Maker' part of their business to do a reboot the shareholders revolted.

Step one (5, Insightful)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#41139753)

Feed all the MBAs to the paper shredder.

Mod parent up. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#41139859)

Fewer MBAs, more engineers.
You're supposed to be a tech company. Where are the tech advances? Where's the engineering? Why are your products almost indistinguishable from Dell's?

Re:Step one (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 2 years ago | (#41139979)

No. Feed half of the damn MBA's to the shreder along with 1/3 of the damn lawyers. Don't forget to include 95 percent of the CE/FO/IO and Boards. Then there's the 130 percent of the damn pols that need to be included and maybe we'd finally get this country back on track.

Re:Step one (5, Insightful)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#41140045)

It's funny to see how many tech companies are being sunk by the MBA bloat. Dell, HP, Microsoft, Micron, it's really kind of sickening. One of the single dumbest human beings I've ever met had an MBA and I don't think he was an aberration.

Attrition... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#41139757)

Hewlett-Packard Co. used to be known as a place where innovative thinkers flocked to work on great ideas that opened new frontiers in technology.

That was before they sold off much of the good stuff, and spun the last of it off as Agilent. Today's HP is HP only in name.

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139759)

Do you want your PC manufacturer to be expensive and a high stock price, or reasonably priced but worth "only" 20 billion?

There's no problem here. Move along.

Commodity PCs are boring. (2)

darpo (5213) | about 2 years ago | (#41139761)

You can't rest on your laurels and think you can keep making the same profits you used to in the "beige box" era of PCs. The only PC maker I can think of that's actually interesting is the one I bought my last system from: iBUYPOWER. But they're specialized, making gaming systems for a specific type of user.

Re:Commodity PCs are boring. (5, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 years ago | (#41139881)

Commodity PCs might be boring, but they are still needed and there is still a big market for them. The real problem is here:

HP has spent more than $40 billion on dozens of acquisitions

HP, like too many other companies, has reduced its R&D to almost nothing and tried to get new products and ideas by just going out and buying other companies.

Corelation does not mean causation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139781)

"since the iphone release"

Um... that is just stupid.

Re:Corelation does not mean causation (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41140259)

Fortunately nobody claimed correlation OR causation! Did you hit the wrong button on your meme post generator?

"PC Makers" (3, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#41139795)

"PC Makers"? Ha. They're middle men. Integetrators of other people's products. They "make" nothing. It was inevitable that they would get squeezed out until the last man that can survive on the smallest margin is left standing. All the ultrabooks and "surface"s in the world won't change the fact that Windows computers are a commodity and always will be until MS tells the OEMs to take a hike and put them all out of business.

Re:"PC Makers" (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41139923)

>>>All the ultrabooks and "surface"s in the world won't change the fact that Windows computers are a commodity

Let's have a car analogy:
A car used to be unique with all kinds of looks and interfaces (imagine driving with a throttle stick instead of wheel+pedal). Now they all look pretty identical (wedge-shaped for max aerodynamics). The only thing that differentiates them is headlight style and size. Perhaps PCs should try different shapes (looks like a car... or a ball... or a book).

Re:"PC Makers" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140051)

Dude, this already happened. Macs are BMWs and PCs are straight out of Detroit.

Re:"PC Makers" (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41140097)

Not quite.

It's more like Dell is a Ford and a Macs are just Lincoln or Mercury.

Same parts inside. Different exterior.

Re:"PC Makers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140121)

What a shock, more mindless drivel from cpu.

Re:"PC Makers" (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#41140257)

Apple has been able to tap into the emotional area car purchases typically live in. Sony has in the past too, but not now. I still consider my PS3 a Mercedes-class piece of hardware, software is another story.

Re:"PC Makers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140049)

HP used to do great things. Then Fiorina decided to buy Compaq and become what they are today: a once-great company in a shrinking market.

I've been buying nothing but HP notebooks with AMD processors and graphics and putting Ubuntu on them for the past 7 years. Right now I'm running Linux Mint, my next notebook is likely to have an Intel processor, and it is likely to not come from HP.

They all had a good run.

Re:"PC Makers" (3, Insightful)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 years ago | (#41140171)

In part, this is what the Apple/Samsung lawsuit is about. If you follow the "Innovator's Dilemma" arguments, the PC makers, and now a lot of the Android makers (tablets and phones) are competing solely on price, because the innovation to get any other advantage has already occurred.

Certainly Apple has invested a lot in product development for iPhone, iPad, iOS, etc. Whether these things should be patentable in the first place, should be separated from whether enforcing the patents, "trade dress", etc results in more or less innovation.

The question for HP in particular, is whether they can innovate on top of (a) Microsoft licensed technologies, (b) Android licensed technologies, or (c) invest time and energies in doing something original. (c) is definitely a gamble, but it's not clear that HP can ever grow out of the bottom by following either (a) or (b).

Bloatware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139807)

Start with NOT including bloatware.

What about Compaq? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41139811)

I interviewed with them in 1999. Back then they seemed like an excellent company, with a campus that reminded me of college (lots of small buildings interconnected by pathways).

Re:What about Compaq? (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 years ago | (#41139985)

I interviewed with them in 1999. Back then they seemed like an excellent company, with a campus that reminded me of college (lots of small buildings interconnected by pathways).

Now that campus IS a college. A couple of years ago HP sold off most of the Compaq buildings to Lone Star College.

This [] is what happened to the (probably still perfectly usable) Compaq buildings that the college didn't want.

Re:What about Compaq? (1)

Fallon (33975) | about 2 years ago | (#41139991)

Bought by HP in 2002...

Re:What about Compaq? (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#41140003)

Compaq? They were bought out by HP years ago.

Re:What about Compaq? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140039)

Compaq made the most shitty PCs in the universe when they existed. Naturally, they were bought by HP, because HP likes shitty computers.

Re:What about Compaq? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41140133)

I understand all of the hate piled on Compaq but mine just keeps on chugging and chugging along. It's chugged along so well that I displaced a Mac Mini with it.

There's something to be said for a butt ugly machine that can be upgraded.

Re:What about Compaq? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41140127)

what about it? compaq was one of those acquisitions hp made.

the thing to take home from this article is that hp has been printing so much money with selling pc's that they've been able to waste literally billions of dollars on stupid shit - all the while they were spending their money on stupid shit because they thought their pc sales would totally crash, whilst their pc sales didn't totally crash and has kept them afloat..

I can buy pc's just fine. fujitsu-siemens, asus, hp, lenovo, packard bell, lg, toshiba, samsung..

Re:What about Compaq? (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#41140149)

Compaq was acquired by HP some time ago.

Re:What about Compaq? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140235)

bought by HP a few years ago

Sleeping with MS (-1, Flamebait)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41139817)

Two more examples: Go to bed with MS, wake up with crotch rot.

Re:Sleeping with MS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139875)

Better than sleeping with Apple and waking up with HIV.

Re:Sleeping with MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139947)

Yeah, because the hardware manufacturers who've bedded with Linux have done so much better...
Oh, wait....

Re:Sleeping with MS (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41140023)

If Dell or HP even survive it will be based on their Unix offerings.

For Dell, this means Linux.

Re:Sleeping with MS (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41140277)

The vendors who have been more OS agnostic have done better.

Except that Dell doesn't suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139831)

But those of us who actually buy a lot of computer love Dell. Easy to work with, good quality/price balance. Wouldn't touch HP with a 10 foot pole. Of course, I keep a 100 ft pole around for both Sun and IBM. (no penis jokes please. Okay, maybe a few.)

Re:Except that Dell doesn't suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140025)

Their customer support is one of the worst things I have ever dealt with, and they knowingly replaced an Alienware laptop's guts with known-faulty hardware to the point where, out of the month and a half I owned it, we had about 14 days worth of use time and then had the audacity to refuse a refund because I hadn't immediately returned it with 14 days of purchase (despite the first call into tech support being at the 10 day mark). Luckily I finally got someone to cave and give me my refund, but I will never buy another Dell again.

What was especially fun was that I bought this with my company's employee purchase program, and then they used that as a reason to shuffle me around while on the phone with them. Awesome.

pc "makers" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139835)

will only get their reboot, when microsoft windows gets out of the way.

and since microsoft has a huge war chest, and protection from the government, they can ensure that it never really goes away, for a long long time.

so personal computers will stagnate for the next 10 years.

personal computing devices is the new area for growth, and has gone around PCs.

Re:pc "makers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140093)

personal computing devices is the new area for growth, and has gone around PCs.

Because 'personal computers' aren't personal computing devices?

Depressing times (5, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | about 2 years ago | (#41139853)

Face it, folks, the gig's up:

Coming: 1. Then end of general purpose computing. 2. "Secure" computing (Palladium-style) 3. Only approved programs via "app stores"

Apple has been too successful. They've got $100bil in the bank, and growing. All the other computer makers are in the doldrums, and are could come to the verge of bankruptcy just by making some more bad decisions.

It just won a billion dollar settlement which is the beginning of their campaign to obliterate choice in tech.

"Normal" people have been completely brainwashed, and it's doubtful we could explain anything in a way that would make them desire tech freedom. When there was just a chance that Saint Apple's holy iDevices might have to pay for the use of some Google patents, US Senators actually held hearings for poor old Apple.

Buy a couple extra laptops. You'll look on them like you do your C64 now.

Re:Depressing times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139969)

Nothing wrong with the App Store model of business - trusted software from a trusted source. A bit like a linux distro

Re:Depressing times (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41140191)

...minus the all of the freedom and flexibility that a Linux package manager enables.

Can't install 3rd party packages.
Can't install 3rd party non-packages.
3rd parties can't integrate with the package manager directly. Developers and power users can't provide their own bleeding edge repositories.

Re:Depressing times (1)

baka_toroi (1194359) | about 2 years ago | (#41140221)

So this is the Reality Distortion Field people keep talking about!

The market has changed (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41139867)

Most consumers want little portable devices and media consumption displays, not general purpose computers.

Sure there are some , but this isn't the 90's where *everyone* wanted a desktop ( or 2 ). And those that do still want them, mostly now realize that last years model is good enough to not to fork out for a new one just because its shiny and the marketing people say they want to..

Sorry folks, its 2012, time to adapt, or stick to the business markets.

Re:The market has changed (4, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 2 years ago | (#41140035)

I think there is still quite a market for the general purpose know, getting real work done. The deal is, PC makers have had a one-two punch for long time that made people upgrade. Either a new version of Windows came out, or a really faster processor came out, and everyone upgraded. It's just to the point that even cheap PCs do what *most* people need, and on top of that Windows upgrades have sucked and made people not want to upgrade.

I think people have confused this funk with the release of the iPad. I guess there is only so much money to go around, but I highly doubt it is just the iPad that has done the industry in.

Re:The market has changed (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#41140243)

PCs are no longer shiny and new. PCs aren't so immature that they need a major OS upgrade or a major hardware upgrade every year or every 3 years. They're a mature product.

You can use a 5 year old Compaq as an HTPC. You can use a $300 low profile bargain PC for everything but heavy gaming.

The market is saturated.

Fully amortized and discarded office PCs are more than adequate for the needs of most home users.

HP's computers (3, Informative)

majortom1981 (949402) | about 2 years ago | (#41139891)

Hp just has to make the rest of its PC's like its z series workstation.s we use the z series workstations at work and they rock. All hp has to do is make their home pc's like ther do their business pc's Also they need to advertise their switches more.

We don't need a new computer every 2 years (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#41139945)

The market has been saturated already, and people can't see the need to upgrade every 2 years.

Of course! (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#41139959)

Of course they did this, they outsourced their soul when they thought their companies were nothing but machines with parts that could be replaced with parts from the cheapest provider. Once they did that they lost their soul and they lost their innovation. Nobody had a desire to take pride in their company anymore knowing that they could well be the next to replaced with someone in India next.

It was the rank and file of the old HP, Dell, Compaq etc that were so damn innovative that built the industry. Upper management came along and thought they could outsource them and still get the same results, failing to see how people would no longer /care/. People who are focused on surviving simply don't give a damn and the next thing you know companies like Acer and Samsung rise from being providers to the giants to the next giants themselves.

Here's the thing, if they do the same thing the American companies did, they too will fall and someone else will take their place. Seriously, can anyone ever give me a single example of where outsourcing actually worked out in the long term for someone other than the vendor?

Only in the world of public companies (4, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | about 2 years ago | (#41139965)

Both Dell [] and HP [] are making billions. They mostly cater to the business sector. I mean sure Apple [] has a 25% profit margin, which is insanely high for a hardware company. Most of that is from iPhone and iPad, and those items come and go based on the whims of consumer taste. 10 years, 20 years is a long time in the computer industry; companies rise and fall during those times. Anything can happen. 15 years ago, Apple was nearly bankrupt, and now they're the most valuable company by market cap. IBM was taking massive losses nearly 20 years ago, now they're the 3rd largest tech company. In the meantime, Compaq is gone, DEC is gone, Wang is gone, etc. HP and Dell have been reinventing themselves, and they're closer to what IBM looks like rather than Apple.

Re:Only in the world of public companies (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 2 years ago | (#41140019)

Dell and HP had to re-invent themselves as "Services" companies. That's where IBM makes their money (well, that and their crazy licensing fees for their software).

I have a feeling even their server sales eclipse what they get in the desktop scene where the margins are a lot smaller.

Computers are, gulp, appliances? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139973)

Let's face it, 90% of the consumer market does not feel the burning need to upgrade.
A cpu/mb/ram combo from 4-5 years ago, can still run Windows 7 comparably well. For browsing, e-mail, doing your taxes, and playing media, most machines are there will be okay for a while.
So people are doing to buy a new computer just like they would buy a new TV, microwave, or fridge. Only when they have to.

On the Enterprise market, as companies shift to 5 year cycles for the OS, they may choose to keep the HW stable as well. I see a trend in the large orgs that I work with to lease the computer, and purchase the monitor (which lasts usually longer and less prone to failure). 3 year leases are turning into 4 year lease plans, and even I have one 10,000+ purchasing HW on five year cycles.

And now for the cool market of gamers, media creators, Linux OS users and coders. Yes, they may upgrade every year or so, yet they're in the minority.

I'm personally shocked how many of my friends/acquaintences are dumping $2-3k to get one of those fancy Apple 27" computers because of how cool it looks on their bloody granite kitchen counter. And HP won't have a chance there.

Small footprint computers, media center systems, and tablets would be my guess on the consumer computer devices that will be the ones selling more.

silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41139999)

Why didn't they just make a decent vanilla Android tablet & phone?

All they have to is contract out the hardware and add free software to it. Keep it updated too.

Loads of people just want no bullshit vanilla Android stuff.

PC manufacturers need a massive shakedown (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140011)

Dell has three different web sites (home, small business, enterprise) which show different products at different configurations, and it's nearly impossible to find the basic chipset specifications for a system. Lenovo's web site was full of 404 misdirects and products they didn't really sell until recently. HP is a dumptruck of different glossy cases with a variety of shiz crammed into them.

The bar for competency is incredibly low in their industry. I hope all three of them implode when newegg decides they can assemble components into whitebox pcs. Open and shut.

Know-nothing article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41140029)

Yawn, yet another "teh PC is DED!!!!1111" article, the kind we've seen every few months for the last two+ decades.

The most glaring assumption (spurred on by Apple Cultists, of course) is that stock price is some kind of indicator of market success. Apple is STILL a niche player, and never stopped being so. For a brief time they did a great job of expanding the smartphone market (kudos for that, despite the fact it would have eventually happened anyway), but now they're once again a bit player.

The number of PCs greatly exceeds the number of people with smart phones, and the number of people with smart phones greatly exceeds the number of people with tablets. Apple is no longer the biggest smart phone producer (that's Samsung), iOS is no longer has the largest market share of the device market (that's Android). Apple's last refuge is the tiny niche market of tablets... which they'll probably lose this year as the tablet market expands to a somewhat significant number of users.

Getting back to the issue of PCs, Apple's OSX has a single-digit market share. In fact, more PCs are using Windows Vista than OSX. If Vista is a failure, as MS haters claim, than what is OSX?

Anyway, this is just more fact-free blabber, the kind that's been spewed by non-serious techie-wannbes for more than 20 years. The PC will outlive their careers in the tech industry.

Personal experience (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 2 years ago | (#41140031)

My personal experience is that HP and Dell are the preferred suppliers for this sort of thing. Who else are you going to buy? IBM/Lenovo, Acer, or Asus? None of them have the value that Dell or HP have these days for general purpose desktop computing.

Hell, Dell/HP are my preferred server vendors, as well. When it comes to servers, they tend to have less gongshow anachronism than IBM. UEFI actually boots quickly on their platform(s). While they use less Intel Ethernet, it's something I can work with, versus the craptastic RAID controllers shipping on IBMs (at least on Windows; with Linux, we have other options on IBMs, eg. LSI firmware and mdraid).

Do these vendors really have that much historically locked up financially in home user sales that the home PC market flatlining (or, at least, becoming commodity) is enough to sink their business? Servers and storage may not be 'interesting' but they're fairly high profit margin and low support (vs. home user desktops). Intuitively, their profits should be up. So why aren't they?

tablets aren't the problem (2)

phorm (591458) | about 2 years ago | (#41140057)

Tablets and smartphones aren't the problem. The problem (for the vendors) is that few things these days warrant a pricey new PC.
It's not that tablet/smartphone users don't have PC's. Most do. Most still use their PC's
But the PC they had 3-4 years ago is still good enough (ok, add some RAM if it's Vista /w 1024MB).
They may get a virus and require hiring somebody to clean it up, but that's still generally cheaper than a new PC.

However, what most people DON'T need is a quad-core i-7 with 8GB of RAM, 3TB HDD, and a dual-sli video card.
At most, they might need under 1TB of space, onboard video, a dual-core CPU, and a few gigs of RAM.

Yes, CAD users, graphic designers, and some others may differ, but the public at large doesn't do that much that requires a new upgrade.

In terms of smartdevices, the evolution is still pushing new product. Newer phone = updated OS, faster processor, better UI, more games, etc. Same for tablet.

They'll hit a ceiling as well, but at the moment the problem isn't that people don't need PC's because of portables, but rather that they don't need upgrades because what they have is good enough.


P-niiice (1703362) | about 2 years ago | (#41140059)

I think HP should bring back Carly. Her strong conservative leadership is exactly what HP needs to get thrahahahahahahaha no that would be an even worse travesty

Agilent (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 2 years ago | (#41140139)

Hewlett-Packard Co. used to be known as a place where innovative thinkers flocked to work on great ideas that opened new frontiers in technology...

That innovative part of HP was spun off into Agilent years ago. The part of HP that was left behind from the spin-off was just an ordinary PC and printer company.

Umm, so? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 years ago | (#41140163)

PCs are a mature market, and they may not change as much any more, but they aren't going away any time soon. That's because people don't create content on a phone.

Nevertheless, somebody has to make PCs, glamorous or not. It might as well be these companies, just like Proctor & Gamble makes toothpaste and soap. Is there anything fundamentally wrong with that?

Some suggestions on whats needed (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41140197)

1 design the system with a smallish second harddrive that can be removed (move the recovery thing to this device)
    A sell a number of drives that can fit that slot 500 gig ,1 t, 2 t, 3t (with and without the recovery partion)
    B setup this drive to be used as a backup

2 move the value add programs to some sort of "ap store"

3 have the parts manual on the backup drive

4 MAKE SURE YOUR STORE WEBSITE CAN RECOGNIZE A LOGIN FROM YOUR COMPUTER : if i hit the HP store website it should automatically know that i am using an HP product and give me options that are compatible with that system.

"technology's most troubled company" ? (1)

DarthVain (724186) | about 2 years ago | (#41140223)

Sorry, not even close. most trobled "computer" company perhaps.

I'm pretty sure Nokia beats both Dell and HP so far as loss of market share and market value over a short period of time by a long shot.

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