We have officially reached a record for PC sales, a broken record that contradicts the ‘analysts’. SemiAccurate has been calling this decline a decline, everyone else seems to uhhh, we really don’t know why they keep missing this one.
Short version, Gartner is claiming that PC sales have cratered again, 5.7% in Q3 alone. This is on top of the flaming tailspin of the industry over the past few years. We won’t res-hash all the data points because, well they are easy enough to find on your own but the trends seem to indicate OEMs agree. Since Windows 8’s triumphant launch to much fanfare by sites that depend on Microsoft ad revenue, sales have cratered. Most belittled the awfulness of this OS and said sales would rebound, consumers actually loved it, and other counter-reality claims.
SemiAccurate was a lone voice in pointing out the emperor’s lack of a wardrobe among the analyst, press, and involved players. Sales decline after sales decline were swiftly followed up by analyst statements and reports, with who funded said statements curiously absent, claiming that in a few quarters sales would come roaring back. Like we said they didn’t but the well paid pundits kept mewling louder as the numbers declined.
Then came the pièce de résistance and one that could only come from an industry frightened to the core, “PC does Whaaat?!?”. For some reason the original site has been taken down but you can find the rather nauseating ads on Youtube. We called for the firings of the CMOs who signed off on this travesty, for cause, but they still seem to be employed. And sales keep dropping.
Unlike most pundits who either take the money and bury their heads in the sand or worse yet just lie about the data, we never claimed things would get better. Even the big three analyst houses aren’t making forward looking claims this time around, there is only so much credibility that can be lost. SemiAccurate was adamant that things would not get better until there were radical changes made to the PC industry. Not only that we directly laid them out.
As the title of that link said, no one in the industry is actually willing to try anything to fix the market, they will just lie to customers with “native advertising”, some of which you can see in the Youtube links, and pretend things are great. SemiAccurate has had a consistent message since Ultrabooks killed off large sections of the market and turned consumers away, and we haven’t been shy about telling those involved.
All this is not just a rant for it’s own sake or a congratulatory self back patting session, we want the industry to fix itself. It is likely too late with a full generation of consumers and several countries effectively lost to Intel et al, but we will still soldier on. Make PCs that people want to buy, not PCs that make higher margins or follow fashion trends gleaned from self-serving surveys. The problem is simple, people want certain functionality from their computers and the industry actively precludes anyone from making or selling exactly that.
So if the PC industry wants to slow the bleeding, we are not sure it can be stopped anymore, there are a few simple things they can do.
Note: The following is for professional and student level subscribers.
Disclosures: Charlie Demerjian and Stone Arch Networking Services, Inc. have no consulting relationships, investment relationships, or hold any investment positions with any of the companies mentioned in this report.