Steve Jobs’ revenge: Latest PC market forecast projects historic 10% downturn

“This year will go down as the PC industry’s largest contraction, research firm IDC said Monday, with global shipments dropping by double digits and little relief in sight. The dismal numbers will not be welcomed at Microsoft, which sells the bulk of its Windows licenses to computer makers as they assemble new PCs,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.

MacDailyNews Take: TFB.

“According to IDC’s revised estimate, 2013 PC shipments will total 314 million, a 10.1% decline from last year’s 349 million,” Keizer reports. “The new forecast was the third reduction in 2013 expectations by IDC, which started the year thinking that the decline would be just 1.3%. With each revision, the research firm’s projections became gloomier, first in May when it predicted a 7.8% contraction, then again in August when its analysts said the decline would intensify to 9.7%”

“The downturn will continue through 2014, IDC maintained Monday, when PC shipments will fall another 3.8% to around 302 million — like the 10.1% drop this year, a larger decline than the August estimate — before recovering ever so slightly over the next several years. But for the foreseeable future — at least through 2017 — shipments will hover just north of 300 million, or about the number delivered in 2008,” Keizer reports. “The last time PC shipments climbed by double digits was in 2010, when year-over-year growth was a robust 13.7%.”

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad on January 27, 2010. It went on sale on April 3, 2010.

Keizer reports, “The last time PC shipments climbed by double digits was in 2010, when year-over-year growth was a robust 13.7%.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, PC shipments have been climbing by double digits every year, when you properly define and count actual personal computers.

Keizer reports, “Like many other market research companies, IDC has wrestled with how to integrate shipment forecasts of new form factors, including convertible 2-in-1 devices and tablets, with traditional PCs. Currently, it includes neither in its PC estimates; instead it tracks tablets separately and will soon do the same for 2-in-1s. The problem is that while 2-in-1s may resemble PCs — and may be used as PC replacements by some — tablets are usually not. Loverde cited the prominence of smaller-sized tablets, and their content consumption orientation, as one reason why including them in PC calculations muddies the water.”

MacDailyNews Take: IDC are lying to themselves. The reason 9 out of 10 people bought PCs in the first place is web browsing, email, some word processing, the odd spreadsheet, social media, and games – all of which are easily done on the iPad that the masses are now buying for the type of personal computing that they actually do (vs. some “PC” usage that the IDCs and Gartners of the world imagine).

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s iPad is the first true personal computer for the vast majority of people. The longer IDC et al. ignore this fact, the more out-of-touch they will be perceived. It’s well past time for IDC, Gartner, etc. to begin counting iPads as what they are: Personal computers.

The “PC market” will continue “contracting” for as long as the bean counters insist on not counting all of the beans.

It’s not rocket science: The things for which the vast majority of people use/used personal computers is easily accomplished with an iPad. PCs are overkill for the vast majority of people, just like an 18-wheeler is vs. a car/SUV.MacDailyNews Take, January 9, 2013

As usual, Steve knew what would happen:

When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars… PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people. – Steve Jobs, June 1, 2010

I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. Our core philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we don’t do it, someone else will. We know that iPhone has cannibalized some of our iPod business. That doesn’t worry us. We know that iPad will cannibalize some Macs. But that’s not a concern.

On iPad in particular, we have the mother of all opportunities because the Windows market is much, much larger than the Mac market. It is clear that it is already cannibalizing some. I still believe the tablet market will be larger than the PC market at some point. You can see by the growth in tablets and pressure on PCs that those lines are beginning to converge.

If somebody buys an iPad mini or an iPad, if it’s their first Apple product, a percentage of these people wind up buying another type of Apple product. If you remember what we had termed the halo effect for the iPod with the Mac, we’re very confident that will happen with the iPad as well. – Tim Cook, January 23, 2013

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James Wigg” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple kicks Wintel in the teeth; Windows PC market share plummets to all-time low – August 1, 2012
Apple Mac, Windows PC killer – January 12, 2012
U.S. Windows PC shipments drop 6% in holiday quarter as Apple Macs surge 21% – January 11, 2012
J.P. Morgan: Apple’s MacBook Air to dominate ultrabook market – December 12, 2011
Why Apple will be the world’s #1 personal computer maker in 2012 – December 5, 2011
Apple on track to overtake HP, become leading global PC vendor – November 21, 2011
Gartner: Apple Mac share up 20% in Europe YOY as PC shipments plunge 11.4% – November 14, 2011
Surging iPad shipments propel Apple to #1 in worldwide mobile computer market share – February 16, 2011
Canalys unafraid to count iPad, puts Apple third in worldwide PC market share – January 26, 2011
DisplaySearch not afraid to count iPad: Apple #1 mobile PC maker in North America, #3 in world – December 7, 2010


      1. PC has only been a proxy for “Windows” in the minds of computer religious extremists. Jobs and other Apple executives have commonly used the term “personal computer” to refer to Macs.

        MDN makes a big deal out of nothing. If you want to slice the statistics a different way because you don’t like the old categorization, then fine, do the math.

        The thing is, no serious computer users will ever consider iOS, Android, or any other similarly limiting mobile OS to be a REAL computing system. Mobile OSes are simply not powerful enough to do serious work. When’s the last time you had a Facetime chat with a spreadsheet open and a webpage going at the same time?

        iOS is, and always should be, a lesser device than a Mac.

        1. Mike,
          The problem is that you have forgotten how far computing devices have come. Yes the interface is more difficult on a mobile device but I would wager that an iPad A7 is as powerful if not more so than the original iMac Bundy Blue.

          Just saying.

  1. What’s destroying PC sales? Microsoft Surface.

    Clearly a panic reaction to the success of the iPad, it represented the hidebound, internally dysfunctional organisation that Microsoft had devolved into.

    A kludgy blend of the Zune-born Metro UI and a brushed-up Windows 7 service pack, the OS tried to both stand its ground whilst also taking flight. “One Windows” became the window frustrated users wanted to leap from.

    The dual-use hardware proved to be as incisive a marketing innovation as the hardtop convertibles auto manufacturers keep trying to dazzle us with. And the OEMs felt affronted, not exactly pining for yet another competitor.

    iPad ate into PC sales, sure, for certain use cases; but Microsoft overreacted, badly, and shot itself in the foot.

    1. I would argue it’s W8. No body wants it on their traditional desktops and laptops. Enterprise doesn’t want it, period, and Enterprise is Microsoft’s primary customer. So Enterprise isn’t buying.

    2. >“One Windows” became the window frustrated users wanted to leap from.<

      Disagree with your thesis (that MS caused the PC sales decline) but like the way you express it. Cheers!


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