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Windows 8 Blamed For PC Shipment Slump

Jonathan Lester
PC, Windows 8

Windows 8 Blamed For PC Shipment Slump

According to the latest report from the International Data Corporation, PC shipments have suffered their biggest ever quarterly decline since records began... and the blame has been laid at the feet of Microsoft's somewhat controversial operating system.

The IDC's figures [as reported by GI.biz] claim that 76.3 million PCs were shipped to retailers (not sold) in the first quarter of 2013, a 13% year-on-year decline and much higher than the projected decrease of 7.7%.  "Although the reduction in shipments was not a surprise," explains IDC PC research director David Daoud, "the magnitude of the contraction is both surprising and worrisome."

Daoud suggests that the industry is approaching a "critical crossroads" as it faces competition from "alternative devices" (i.e. tablets and smartphones), but IDC VP of Clients and Displays Bob O'Donnell goes one step further by suggesting that Windows 8 has impacted on the PC brand, and actually makes tablets more attractive in comparison.

"At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," he said.

"While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI, removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market."

Though we definitely enjoy the lightning-fast boot times that Windows 8 provides, the bizarre disconnect between Metro and Desktop makes it rather counter-intuitive for many experienced Windows users. With numerous high profile critics of the OS including Valve's Gabe Newell and Blizzard, it's clear that Microsoft will want to push its new range of Windows 8 devices, including the Surface, to help keep the brand relevant. Having said all that, the fact that we're currently in the middle of a recession probably doesn't help matters, and many PC owners naturally prefer to upgrade rather than buy entirely new systems. And buy a tablet.


Add a comment10 comments
Tsung  Apr. 11, 2013 at 15:03

My thoughts are :- Windows 8 is a shambles, the UI does not suit the desktop environment and touch screen monitors are far too expensive to make it a worthwhile purchase. This will only ensure more people will buy tablets and bring the death of the traditional pc much quicker.

I just wish Microsoft would stop trying to ram it down our throats and release windows 8 desktop edition without that tiled interface.. :P

Until then... I guess I can use.

Last edited by Tsung, Apr. 11, 2013 at 15:04
Quietus  Apr. 11, 2013 at 15:24

To me, it always smacked of trying to fix what isn't broken. Everybody loved XP, and then Vista got a fair amount of slating. Then 7 came along, and it seemed to have learned, and had hints of XP again. Then they release 8 for no reason whatsoever, and seem to have backtracked again.

They seem hell bent on trying to make it 'user friendly', so that they can attract everybody's granny, and are ignoring those that use their computers every day - and I mean businesses and home users.

DivideByZero  Apr. 11, 2013 at 15:26

I would agree with Windows 8 being part of the reason as it's f***ing lame. That said, it's even worse in Server 2012 form as it is not remote connection friendly... the server OS still wants for a touchscreen which is so dumb.

That said, this is only the partial reason.

The rest of the reason is that everyone already owns one and why buy a new one. Hardware has advanced massively, but if you are only using a PC to read e-mail, stream movies and play Bejeweled... why upgrade. You would be fine on 5+ year old hardware.

Something similar is happening with gaming too. Graphics cards are still forging ahead (and so they should!) but games are not. Back in the day games would come out so advanced it may take a year or more to get a graphics card that could run it at max. Now, you can buy the top graphics card and own it for 2 years and it would still run everything new at max at a good FPS.

Hopefully this will get pushed again when the next gen of consoles comes out.

Crysis 3 is about the only game to really push the GPU lately - but even that is not a touch on what Crysis 1 was back in the day.

MattGardner  Apr. 11, 2013 at 16:01

Development costs have a lot to do with that and, as you say, people are waiting longer to upgrade their PCs. Making a game designed to push super-top-tier graphical specs would be an enormous risk: too expensive to begin with, and with an audience too small and niche to recover that expense.

Stelph  Apr. 12, 2013 at 07:32

My thoughts are :- Windows 8 is a shambles, the UI does not suit the desktop environment and touch screen monitors are far too expensive to make it a worthwhile purchase. This will only ensure more people will buy tablets and bring the death of the traditional pc much quicker.

I just wish Microsoft would stop trying to ram it down our throats and release windows 8 desktop edition without that tiled interface.. :P

Until then... I guess I can use.

As a response with a different viewpoint I would highlight that if you ignore the "metro" screen (which you can easily do) windows 8 is essentially a streamlined but very similar version of windows 7, its works fine in the desktop, runs all the legacy apps etc, where's the problem?

Personally I quite like this direction that MS has gone in, tablets are the future of computing for a lot of people and we are seeing more and more people replace all computers with a a tablet, and even hardcore computer users getting tablets as they are easier for a lot of simple tasks, but what about if you wanted to do something more complicated? That's where windows 8 comes in, it has a mobile tablet side for browsing and simple tasks and then it also has full desktop to run like a laptop if needed, this is considerably more flexible and more powerful than apples ipad where they are strongly resisting any crossover or improvement of the iOS environment

BetterThanLife  Apr. 12, 2013 at 10:19

Gotta say, I have love/hate relationship with Windows 8. I loathe the tiled setup on PC and hate the fact that there's no normal start menu, but I can more or less ignore it now. I do like the fact that it's really fast. It's basically exactly the same as Win7, but faster, more robust, but with horrible plastic surgery.

I will say this though... I love it as a tablet interface. It's f*cking great on my HP Envy. I still have an iPad 3, but I never use it anymore except for games. The Envy syncs perfectly with my PC and the cross over OS business is really cool.

DivideByZero  Apr. 12, 2013 at 14:19

Working in IT, I can not forgive the tiles.

Sure, the core is good. But the UI is balls.

So many things are just so dumb. Wanna run a command prompt as a different user...

windows key,
type cmd, (here is where it differs)
right click... no option to run as different user....
open file location
new window pops up,
right click CMD in there
Then choose run as different user.

It's not like IT people don't do this s*** hundreds of times a day. Why take it away from one menu but still let you do it. Dumb.

Why when I open a picture in desktop mode does it randomly flip to a full screen application. Why does that not f*** off when I have closed the picture... why does it leave me in the full screen app and I have to use Alt-F4 to get out? Dumb

When working on remote desktops and you see a desktop within your desktop... the lack of start BUTTON means you have to very specifically hover your mouse on the bottom left to hit it... too much to the left and you are off the console window and on your own machine, too much to the right and you are not in the right place. Same thing for the charms bar... what a joke. Dumb.

I could go on, but I am going to stop, for my own sake.

With XP you had the option to run it in classic mode, if you preferred the old way. Why not here. DUMB.


Late  Apr. 12, 2013 at 14:30

...and breathe...


DivideByZero  Apr. 12, 2013 at 14:48

Hehehe, yeah.

I really could go on.

I was in one of ten or so companies globally to get Windows 8 and Server 2012 before its release as part of its rapid deployment program. I have found many bugs. I have found many more things I just don't like.

What a difference to Windows 7. I loved everything about that on release.

Typical MS though. They seem to f*** up every other release.

wquach  Apr. 12, 2013 at 17:08

I agree with Matt. That type of business model simply isn't sustainable in today's market. It was before, but present day paints another picture. We can see the next generation consoles as proof that this "arms race" to have the latest and greatest tech no longer exists - both the PS4 and 720 will be significantly scaled back by today's PC tech standards. Even then the cost of the consoles, rumored at $400+, will most likely still be sold at a loss from the get-go.

I mean I'm all for the advancement of technology but from a business perspective, from studios closing left and right just from one game failing to meet sales expectations, developers are rightfully cautious to have to scale back.

As for the GPU market, I feel as though the arms race between AMD and Nvidia will slow down as well - the desktop market has been shrinking in relation to the tablet/mobile market, and sure you'll still have your desktop enthusiast crowd willing to pay $200+ for the next line of graphics cards, but one look at Nvidia's most recent quarterly earnings report says that they're operating at a net profit solely because of their Tegra and mobile lines. THAT'S what's allowing them to fund their GPU line.

AMD on the other hand, has continually been operating at a loss, and it's no wonder they were contracted by all the console makers in order to keep their company going. I imagine they were willing to accept the bids from Sony and Microsoft, whereas Nvidia has been vocal lately that they simply don't need to turn to consoles for their company's future endeavors with mobiles.

Also as a PC/PS3 gamer, I'm actually glad they're slowing down. I certainly would hope that my 660 SLI build would last more than a year or two running the latest and greatest games since I simply can't afford a graphics card refresh every 3 years.

We are living in an economic depression, and both companies and consumers will spend accordingly and reflect this.

Last edited by wquach, Apr. 12, 2013 at 17:18

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