IDC: Windows 8 launch did not prevent lower PC shipments


Still waiting for a new PC ...

The launch of Windows 8 in late October was not expected to stop a continued decline in the worldwide shipments of PCs overall in 2012, but in the end, research firm IDC said this week that PC shipments were lower than even they predicted for the fourth quarter of 2012.

IDC's press release announced that 89.8 million PC units shipped in the last three months of 2012, down 6.4 percent from the same period a year ago and lower than IDC's previous estimate of a 4.4 percent drop. This is the first time in over five years that PC shipments have gone down in the fourth quarter of a year.

In the US, PC shipments went down 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter and shipments were down seven percent for the entire year. In a statement, IDC research director David Daoud seemed to hint that PC makers did not do enough to maximum the use of Windows 8 for their launch PCs. He said:

Consumers expected all sorts of cool PCs with tablet and touch capabilities. Instead, they mostly saw traditional PCs that feature a new OS (Windows 8) optimized for touch and tablet with applications and hardware that are not yet able to fully utilize these capabilities.

HP is the worldwide leader in PC shipments, according to IDC, followed closely by Lenovo. Dell is in third place with Acer and Asus in fourth and fifth place, respectively. HP is still on top in the US market, followed by Dell, Apple, Lenovo and Toshiba.

Source: IDC | Lady in front of a PC image via Shutterstock

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Actually, IDC partially blamed Windows 8 itself for poor PC sales.

It's going to be one of the worst years in a very long time for PC vendors and retailers, and it's all because the fools stupidly drank the Windows 8 Kool-Aid.

Touch screen laptops were a miserable failure two years ago when they were promoted as the next "must have" gadget. Don't know why Microsoft thought things would be different now. No one really needs touch on a PC, and all Windows 8 does is turn a vastly overpriced touch-screen-enabled PC into a cellphone look-alike anyway. Gosh, who wouda thunk consumers wouldn't jump at a deal like that!

And does Microsoft really expect 100 million CAD/CAM designers, accountants, and other industrial content makers and knowledge workers to hold their arms up all day inaccurately poking smudges on their 42" vertical monitors with their fat fingers, working at 1/100th the speed as before Windows 8 with 1000 times the physical effort?

Microsoft totally jumped the shark with Windows 8, and the unfolding Windows 8 disaster shows how totally out of touch Microsoft management is with reality. Steve Ballmer will be fired by the end of the year if the Microsoft board wants to have any chance of saving their company from totally clueless management.

As for the rest, maybe the next time Microsoft comes out with a "game-changing" operating system, maybe they'll take a cold hard look at reality themselves to make sure "game-changing" doesn't actually mean "game-destroying".

it's a combination of things. People keeping their W7 pc as it does the job and is still fairly new, and people who don't have the money atm to buy something new.

The economy is still bad, also in Europe despite some of the posters claims. I've seen a drop in work around 50% last year, and there's no real sign of recovery so far. Even the banks and goverment say 2013 will be a rough year. The number of people/families depending on private organizations for their weekly food are growing over here. Also the number of people loosing their house is growing too.

So add all this and yes, there's less stuff being sold. No rocket science here. When W7 came out the economy was still booming, it's not a real surprise the sales were higher than W8 atm.

Obviously, if you have a laptop and desktop already, and they don't seem slow in any way, you would want some new feature to motivate a new sale. That feature, is the touch screen laptop, or the convertible laptop/tablet. Why buy a new PC if you don't need or want it. Don't blame the OS. Out of the many versions of windows made, all but the last 2 required better and better hardware. So, since vista, there really hasn't been the same push.

We can't forget the "Good Enough" phenomenon. Multimedia (games, movies, audio, etc.) has long been at a point where it's good enough, and increasing the fidelity does little to improve the experience. Likewise, hardware has long been "good enough": A midrange PC from 2005 is noticeably worse than one from 2000. Yet in 2012, a midrange PC from 2007 still performs very well comparatively. Just as console refresh cycles inevitably got longer, so too did PC refresh cycles. There will eventually be a move toward new form factors (e.g. tablets) but it was nearly November before Win8 was released. It's just silly to blame manufacturers for not selling enough Win8 hardware this quarter.

So what this article imply is that people are not interested to use pc with win 8 if there's no touch capabilities. This would mean, win 8 is not fine for regular desktop experience (at least for the market) , touch capability is a must have. Let's wait that more pc with touch capabilities are released , to see if people are interested.

It's fine on PCs with a scroll mouse. And the Desktop Environment performs slightly better overall than Win 7 in my experience. There's just no compelling reason to put up with the annoyances or learn how to get around. I mean, there's just no killer apps, no slick iTunes equivalent for Windows Phone 8 & Surface RT or any Windows RT tablet. Just ... why? There's really no good reason other than it works better on a tablet and iPad and Android tablets are some tough, tough competition with a big lead and people like them. People know how to use iTunes and sync their phones and tablets easily. It's just a better experience right now, and only software can fix it for Windows IMO.

No - the article means that folks are not interested in new DESKTOP hardware DESPITE Windows 8 - the OS is largely irrelevant. (In fact, Microsoft's own Windows 8 sales metrics prove that out.) They by and large are upgrading existing hardware - not replacing the entire desktop PC; something that, oddly enough, both Windows 7 and Windows 8 make practical. Upgrade - not replace entirely - has become THE watchword among the desktop set; if anything, I'm getting MORE interest in upgrading existing desktop hardware than ever - not less. Then you have environmental regulations - throwing out the old desktop hardware is far LESS practical than it used to be. (Just in the EU, it's bad; in North America, with a far less cohesive recycling infrastructure, it's actually worse.) I have a Core Upgrade build for darn near anyone with an ATX case and decent PSU/drives that is all of $400USD - and that is with an i5-3570K and 16GB of RAM. The biggest reason there hadn't been as many takers as folks would like (even with such low pricing) is that decent PSU and ATX case requirement - a lot of OEMs skimped on either or both.

I agree with that. A whole lot of people ARE buying new, can cheap tablets. iPads are not cheap, but Android devices are. Now on Android, they take what they get. iPads, there is an expectation of software, usability, and performance for which it delivers. Because that is where Windows RT tablets are priced, they must meet that expectation of software, usability, and performance. For consumers, Windows RT does not IMO. For techhies and business use, it does well enough.

This is exactly what I was saying, software in place but no compelling hardware to take advantage of the compelling software.

Precisely. The features that ARE in newer hardware are, by and large, used primarily by outliers - not the masses. Touch-screens? Great for portable hardware - not DESKTOP hardware. (Over half the criticism of Windows 8, in fact, comes from it merely SUPPORTING touch-screens on desktops - never mind the acknowledgement from just about every quarter that such a feature on desktops is an outlier. Just because it's available does NOT mean that it's a requirement.) However, such desktops (mostly of the AIO variety) have started to ship - albeit nearly tragically late; they are also shipping into the teeth of a horrific economy. (While unemployment RATES are down - in both North America and Europe - what are the labor-participation rates like, especially in Europe? We already are quite aware that in North America such rates remain quite horrible - is the picture there ANY better in Europe?) Meanwhile, existing hardware by and large actually supports Windows 8 just fine - and you get a LOT of the same features without having to buy brand new hardware. If anything, Windows 8 - as an operating system - adds new features for users without having to buy new hardware. Therefore NOT something that OEMs wanted to hear - especially in the teeth of sagging new desktop hardware sales.

About time an organization has common sense. IDC is right in that windows 8 is optimized for touch and the cool new hardware wasn't available to make use of it. I was sick and tired of all the bull**** some analysts were releasing.

I'm surprised nobody sees the iomega effect* with "pc's." PC Tech is not moving that fast. You can easily sit on a rig and use it for high end work for 4 years+. I used to replace my work and gaming machines innards every 2 years, worst case every 3 with tech moving as fast as it was.

My biggest reason for purchasing a new computer or parts is due to failure at this point. I'm replacing monitors more often than the box itself.

Tablets are selling well because they are new and they re turning over quickly as the tech matures and offers compelling reasons to replace their current unit... same as phones.

IMO, if MS had a solid in place upgrade story that didn't make most people have a heart attack everybody would be doing it. Instead, it's almost taboo to in place upgrade a windows machine.

I'll be testing Microsoft's in place upgrades soon though, My work machine I purchased in 2009 is still running Vista. I have a marathon Vista -> 7 -> 8 Saturday ahead.

* For those young ones out there. iOmega made Zip and Jazz drives. They were the hot stuff for quite some time. Once everybody got one their sales dropped to the floor. With PC's (Laptops/Desktops) there is no compelling story to replace the 2-3 year old box right now in business or at home.

There are plenty of in-place upgrades here on Neowin - mine is, in fact, one of them. In fact, the majority of the Windows 8 *detractors* on Neowin aren't dismissing Windows 8 due to insufficient hardware. That alone says that hardware requirements generally aren't the reason for lack of new hardware sales - if anything, Windows 8 generally does NOT require any newer hardware than Windows 7 (in a lot of cases, the only upgrades required of even Vista-era hardware is the GPU); this is - in and of itself - a major problem when it comes to new hardware sales.

I had a woman call me wanting a new computer and wanted my opinion. She said everyone she has talked to, (Average user) has said avoid windows 8.

warwagon said,
I had a woman call me wanting a new computer and wanted my opinion. She said everyone she has talked to, (Average user) has said avoid windows 8.

Did you ask her how many of those (average users) actually tested Windows 8 before giving their expert opinion on it?

I wouldn't tell average to above average users to avoid it. But consumers/beginners. I would. Until Xbox Music App is full featured with easy playlist management and Windows Phone syncing, they don't need to be forced to use Windows Media Player Classic in DE and switch back and forth to Metro. I actually think if MS can get their Modern UI app act together, these same users would be better off if they could live only in the Modern UI environment. Having to go back and forth, why bother for beginners. Get an iPad or stick with the PC you have for now.

MorganX said,
I wouldn't tell average to above average users to avoid it. But consumers/beginners. I would. Until Xbox Music App is full featured with easy playlist management and Windows Phone syncing, they don't need to be forced to use Windows Media Player Classic in DE and switch back and forth to Metro. I actually think if MS can get their Modern UI app act together, these same users would be better off if they could live only in the Modern UI environment. Having to go back and forth, why bother for beginners. Get an iPad or stick with the PC you have for now.

So these consumers/beginners... What were they using on Windows 7 that they can't use on Windows 8 Pro?

I assume they were using iTunes, Spotify, or Windows Media Player to manage their library. How has that changed in Windows 8? The only change I see is that now they have the option to use the Xbox Music App.

warwagon said,
I had a woman call me wanting a new computer and wanted my opinion. She said everyone she has talked to, (Average user) has said avoid windows 8.

I had someone call me and told me that she has talked to 100s of people, and everyone of them said Win8 was the best version of Windows ever and wanted to know what would be a good new computer to get. It is true, why would I say otherwise?

warwagon said,
I had a woman call me wanting a new computer and wanted my opinion. She said everyone she has talked to, (Average user) has said avoid windows 8.

I am a manager at a large retail that sells windows PCs and I hear that a minimum of 10 times per day.

Zune?
I have never been a big fan of Zune but compared of what I have with W8 and WP8 Zune is like the Holy Grail...
I do not understand how is it possible that company as big as MS released such apps; they downgrade the whole experience with both OSes.

The chances they were using spotify, the type of users, is slim. I didn't say they couldn't use it, I said I would recommend the back and forth for beginners. They will get lost and suffer frustrations. Even I get tired of task switching when closing by double-clicking the upper left of a Window. Search is horrendous and these users will have to switch between right-clicking which is cumbersome enough for them, and Modern UI Select.

Additionally, most users will want to use the Modern UI, it's new, and have to deal with the Music and Video Apps, then find their way back to the desktop environment. They will probably stay there, with iTunes. So what's the point. Hence, I would not recommend it until living in the Modern UI is worth the trouble for people that just want to sync their phone and iPad to their music and movies and shop and online store. That's not going to change until the software does, maybe Blue, maybe Windows 9. Tablet, sure. But I don't think that's an issue with iPad and Nexus popularity.

For people who are reasonably experienced and won't mind finding out what works well and what doesn't and looking for replacement apps, and doing search in File Explorer, go for it. If I had the opportunity to recommend it to beginners or true consumer level users just wanting something that just works, I would not.

@Fritzly, I can see you actually use Windows 8 for fun. My experience as well. Only I'm on Windows Phone 8 which Zune does not support. Have to resort to Windows Media Player Classic for meaningful playlist management and large library search and playlist creation. I actually did not use WMP in 7, I used Zune. Unfortunately, I believe this terrible lack of meaningful media management/player app is due to MS trying to force Xbox Music/Video sales. The whole ecosystem and playlist syncing works great if all of your library is purchased from Xbox. Managing existing libraries, a chore not worth the effort for me. And no Windows Phone 8 or Surface sync? I ask the same question, how the hell did they decide this was a good idea, Xbox Music/Video Marketplace just isn't that good, and it's just no fun right now. Not worth the trouble. But I do use WMP Classic for my Lumia 920. And WMP does convert Media Center recordings to sync with the phone. If only it did that for the Surface RT.

I would try and push people to Windows 8 if only because of the incredible driver support for third party hardware. I had to install Win7 on a PC after using Win8 for so long and forgot that I needed a LAN driver just to download Windows Updates.

The very reason that hardware sales are declining is not in spite of Windows 8, as Windows 8, believe it or not, is more about new portable hardware than new *traditional* hardware. At the core, Windows 8 does not require ANY more hardware than did Windows 7 (or Windows Vista, for that matter) - in terms of general core requirements, the base is generally flat. However, in the developed world, traditional PC hardware (new and refurbished alike) is approaching saturation - you can pass down a used PC and - if the PC merely dates back to 7 or even Vista - more likely than not it can STILL run Windows 8; why buy new when you don't have to?

My desktop runs Windows 8 today - and that is despite a CPU that is three generations dead and a GPU that is two generations dead. While there is technology that is leveragable by Windows 8 that newer PCs have that my PCs lack, how much of it is actually used by users? (Desktop virtualization is a major feature added to Windows 8 [Hyper-V, which came from Windows Server] - however, how many users actually use it, or WOULD use it? Those users that WOULD use it - such as me - are largely outliers - not the general user base.)

It's not that Windows 8 is unusable - for the average user, unfortunately, it's largely overkill.

Finally someone says something that makes bleeding sense. None of this "I didn't buy a new PC this Christmas because Windows 8 came on it."
PC's didn't sell because everyone and their dog wanted tablets.

That would work if tablet and phone shipments fell too, but since they are rising and its only PCs that are falling the economy can't be blamed. For most people they want to buy a new tablet or phone, they only replace the PC when they have too.

PC shipments dropped because the OEMs were trying to clear out their old stock, instead of having the touch enabled Win8 PCs ready. When you went in store - it was nearly all Win7 class-kit.

Friend only just got his XPS 12 from DELL which has been on order for months - I suspect that there has been an issue getting hold of the touch screens as every one of the OEMs had same issue and only now have the kit.

They all complained about being in a commodity market and when they had a chance to step up and deliver a higher-value proposition they failed. No wonder Microsoft came up with Surface - some of these OEMs deserve to fail.

Article
Consumers expected all sorts of cool PCs with tablet and touch capabilities. Instead, they mostly saw traditional PCs that feature a new OS (Windows 8) optimized for touch and tablet with applications and hardware that are not yet able to fully utilize these capabilities.

I agree with the IDC guy quoted above.

A year ago i was expecting a load of cool new PC designs to be released on Windows 8 launch. About the only good thing released on launch was Surface, but that has Win RT, not Win 8, which most people want.

Instead we mostly get the same old crap from OEM's. The Lenovo Yoga is good, but that wasn't available on release either. Things are starting to slightly change now as more creative stuff is appearing and being shown at the CES show. But these companies had ages to prepare for Win 8.

Even Intel completely screwed up. There was no Intel Clover Trail tablets at Win 8 launch. Intel screwed up in development so all Clover Trail tablets got delayed by atleast a month and a half to 3 months because of a bug they discovered with the SoC design.

Win 8 is very much an OS that works amazingly well with hardware MADE for it. If people stick it on their 6 year old desktop PC it's not going to be a great experience (although i'd argue it's still as atleast good as Win 7 on old desktops but thats not good enough to stop people from getting a tablet instead).

yeoo_andy_ni said,

PC's didn't sell because everyone and their dog wanted tablets.

I really cannot understand what are talking about. In my entire circle of family/friends/work/well-known/just known and even unknown people around my environment, none has ever talked/wanted/got a tablet... I really don't understand why you think people make like mad for those tablets. You're talking like it's the best thing after sliced bread. And that's because some corps and websites push it? Well, O.K.

yeoo_andy_ni said,
Finally someone says something that makes bleeding sense. None of this "I didn't buy a new PC this Christmas because Windows 8 came on it."
PC's didn't sell because everyone and their dog wanted tablets.

I was literally shocked when my dog asked a tablet for christmas.

neonspark said,
yes and there is the whole world economy going to hell

You mean the whole US economy,

Most if not all the European counties having problems are pulling themselves out of it.

No one wants Windows 8 end of story (not even Americans!) lol

PC EliTiST said,
I really cannot understand what are talking about. In my entire circle of family/friends/work/well-known/just known and even unknown people around my environment, none has ever talked/wanted/got a tablet... I really don't understand why you think people make like mad for those tablets. You're talking like it's the best thing after sliced bread. And that's because some corps and websites push it? Well, O.K.
In a lot of people I know like tablets. Some of them have iPads and some have Android tablets.. That's just where the interest is going to now.

hehe pic image says still waiting for a new pc... blurred image on screen looks like an OSX desktop going by the grey topbar and some of the other UI elements blurred