Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Are We In The Post PC Era?

Another day, another data firm releases bad news about PC sales. This time it is Context and their assessment on Q3, having gleaned their information from European distributors, is that the decline seen in PC sales continued unabated.

On the one hand, there has been some aggressive price cutting which has had some positive effect on unit sales by some 9% but the pricing action itself meant that there was still a drop in revenues by 10%. In the category of laptops, there was another alarming drop of 18%.

The pricing action was more to help distributors run down the high levels of stocks they had bought largely in anticipation of continued strength in the PC market. The decline and subsequent build up in stocks has happened in very short order and it echoes the speed at which the whole client market is changing.

Of course, things were not helped by the dramatic announcements by HP regarding its PSG division and then its subsequent removal of its CEO. It is still unclear how that will affect the future of the division.

Context has not shown any appreciable market share loss by HP but this does not reflect information supplied from other sources where there seemed to be a 4% loss of share by HP, a good proportion of that loss transferring to Lenovo.

The converse rise in tablet sales continues to show the rapid changes at the client computing level. More and more staff at firms are buying such products with their own money and are using them in the Corporate environment. It's clear that the whole 'refresh' market is fraught with uncertainty for PC and laptop vendors.

In all of this, the one company that is not suffering is Apple. Not only has it seen shipments rise but its market share has also risen while it still commands premium margins for the vendor.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the client market is giving a collective vote of 'lack of confidence' in the PC and Microsoft market.Perhaps, just perhaps, this market has seen its best days. Perhaps Steve Jobs was right, we are now in the post-PC era.

The changing face of client computing together with the growing trend toward Cloud based computing is going to shake the market up over the next few years. I dare say that we may see a very different landscape of dominant vendors at the end of it. There whispers that Microsoft's era of domination in this sector are over.

Is there fight enough left in the giant to survive and continue to thrive?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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