Ultrabook 2012 sales forecast cut; bad news for Windows 8?

Intel has been making the case for its Ultrabook-based notebook design and specifications for over a year now. Today, a new study from well known research firm IHS has cut its previous sales forecast for Ultrabook-based notebooks by over 50 percent, which could spell some bad news for both Intel as well as Microsoft for its upcoming Windows 8 launch.

IHS's press release (with the title "Dude, You're Not Getting an Ultrabook" ... we are not kidding) says that it previously predicted sales of 22 million units of Ultrabook-based notebooks, but it now says that number will be around 10.3 million units. In addition, IHS is now predicting that Ultrabook sales in 2013 will be 44 million, down from its previous prediction of 61 million.

Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS, states in the press release.

So far, the PC industry has failed to create the kind of buzz and excitement among consumers that is required to propel ultrabooks into the mainstream. This is especially a problem amid all the hype surrounding media tablets and smartphones. When combined with other factors, including prohibitively high pricing, this means that ultrabook sales will not meet expectations in 2012.

This new forecast from IHS comes as the launch of Windows 8 is coming up later in October. PC makers will be releasing a number of new Ultrabook-based notebooks made especially for Windows 8, such as the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart shown above. If sales of Ultrabooks are not higher than expected that means that the overall adoption rate of Windows 8 could also be lower than previously predicted.

Ironically, IHS says that Ultrabooks might see some competition later this year from Microsoft's own Surface product launch, which will run on an NVIDIA-made and ARM-based processor. Other products such as the iPhone 5 and the Kindle Fire HD could also eat into Ultrabook sales.

The press release states that Intel is putting a lot of hopes on its next generation PC processor, code named Haswell, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2013.

Source: IHS press release | Image via HP

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This is not a blow for ultrabooks at all. It's an admission by one market research company that their ability to predict the market sucks.

This is rubbish supposition. We know most PC purchases happen during OS upgrade cycles. Ultrabooks came out at the wrong time, that's all. When W8 comes out those that held off will then go to the shops and make their choices. You also have to consider that there is a major recession going on so any numbers are bound to be low, even when they purchase as part of the upgrade cycle.

However these tech posts never seem to take into account economic conditions and will suppose that the low W8 adoption is an indictment of a poor acceptance of the merits of W8 when in actuality its just economics.

How can it be bad news for Windows 8 before it's barely out?
If Windows 8 is good, people will buy the hardware to run what it's optimized for.

Microsoft should only worry if Windows 8 is actually not that good.

I'm building a new desktop PC for the first time in 10 years after having been exclusively Laptops. With that, I plan on buying a decent 10" android or ipad for the road.

Jose_49 said,
I don't know about other people, but I'll be making a new Desktop next year around.

I can't believe how inexpensive it was to build my own monster desktop with 2 TB HDD and 2 X 23" monitors. Cost roughly the same as an iPad.

Ultrabooks are too expensive. People will flock to the lower priced tablets. People that actually need to get work done will buy computers at the same pace they have always bought them, when they need a new one.

Just because consumers are able to get by with simpler devices doesn't mean the rest of the world's computers are going away any time soon. I'll be very happy with my Surface Tablet (I hope), and my Mom will be happy with hers (I hope).

But I'll be even happier to go home to my Windows 8 desktop that has 3 screens, and full access to any of those tablet apps if I choose. Were not all morons. But the morons need to be taken care of, and not left out.

Windows 8 is a big fat transition, not everyone will be happy, that is for sure. Thank god there will be more Microsoft Stores and Apple Stores, so that everyone on both platforms has a place to congregate, drink latte's and get help with their confusion.

ir0nw0lf said,
I called this months ago at work, price price price. Many people still place price #1 on their list.

Anyone outside of Intel could have called this, no one I knew believed this strategy would work.

This is Intel dragging the entire PC industry into the depths with their high prices. PC manufacturers need to switch to ARM and use low cost ARM chips in Windows RT laptops. Microsoft should have also allowed development for the Windows RT desktop. It's understandable that Microsoft wants to push WinRT app adoption, but they are making the PC industry slaves to Intel by giving them such an advantage over ARM.

Imagine this scenario: $500-$700 ultrabooks running Windows RT with the ability to develop and download new apps for the desktop and 10 hours of battery life. How many more PCs would they sell than $900-$1600 Intel Core ultrabooks with 5 hours of battery?

Avatar Roku said,
This is Intel dragging the entire PC industry into the depths with their high prices. PC manufacturers need to switch to ARM and use low cost ARM chips in Windows RT laptops. Microsoft should have also allowed development for the Windows RT desktop. It's understandable that Microsoft wants to push WinRT app adoption, but they are making the PC industry slaves to Intel by giving them such an advantage over ARM.

Imagine this scenario: $500-$700 ultrabooks running Windows RT with the ability to develop and download new apps for the desktop and 10 hours of battery life. How many more PCs would they sell than $900-$1600 Intel Core ultrabooks with 5 hours of battery?

Well if developers of complex programs like Lightroom dont move to ARM what then?

efjay said,

Well if developers of complex programs like Lightroom dont move to ARM what then?

Why wouldn't they, if all they had to do was recompile?

Avatar Roku said,
This is Intel dragging the entire PC industry into the depths with their high prices. PC manufacturers need to switch to ARM and use low cost ARM chips in Windows RT laptops. Microsoft should have also allowed development for the Windows RT desktop. It's understandable that Microsoft wants to push WinRT app adoption, but they are making the PC industry slaves to Intel by giving them such an advantage over ARM.

Imagine this scenario: $500-$700 ultrabooks running Windows RT with the ability to develop and download new apps for the desktop and 10 hours of battery life. How many more PCs would they sell than $900-$1600 Intel Core ultrabooks with 5 hours of battery?

Horsefeathers. ARM is a RISC play *and* a scaled-up smartphone/device CPU.

Intel (and AMD, to be honest) have been manufacturing what consumers have wanted until now - full-featured CPUs that are fully compatible with the software that folks run today.

Cloud computing and thin devices (which DO have far longer battery life than thicker Intel/AMD hardware) will become more relevant for more folks - until they grow out of being strictly-content-consumption. There will be a transition - however, that can't happen until things improve in terms of the economy.

Avatar Roku said,
This is Intel dragging the entire PC industry into the depths with their high prices. PC manufacturers need to switch to ARM and use low cost ARM chips in Windows RT laptops. Microsoft should have also allowed development for the Windows RT desktop. It's understandable that Microsoft wants to push WinRT app adoption, but they are making the PC industry slaves to Intel by giving them such an advantage over ARM.

Imagine this scenario: $500-$700 ultrabooks running Windows RT with the ability to develop and download new apps for the desktop and 10 hours of battery life. How many more PCs would they sell than $900-$1600 Intel Core ultrabooks with 5 hours of battery?

If you want a device with the power of a netbook you can buy a netbook right now.

Windows 8 runs on ultrabooks, regular laptops and tablets so I don't think it is very bad news for Windows 8.

Of course being the operating system of a hyped product wil help sell copies more quickly. Being both popular on tablets and ultrabooks would help grow early marketshare. But Windows 8 is a big change and although I like it on a non-touch PC, I think the OS is best experienced on a touch device first.

On touch it makes sense from the get-go. It will be easier to get into Windows 8 and discover what makes it better then Windows 7. Then word of mouth could spread and people might be more willing to accept this new OS, even on non-touch devices. I know that many ultrabooks have touch screens but it isn't a given, so gaining most word of mouth on tablets might even be good news for Windows 8.

Ronnet said,
Windows 8 runs on ultrabooks, regular laptops and tablets so I don't think it is very bad news for Windows 8.

Of course being the operating system of a hyped product wil help sell copies more quickly. Being both popular on tablets and ultrabooks would help grow early marketshare. But Windows 8 is a big change and although I like it on a non-touch PC, I think the OS is best experienced on a touch device first.

On touch it makes sense from the get-go. It will be easier to get into Windows 8 and discover what makes it better then Windows 7. Then word of mouth could spread and people might be more willing to accept this new OS, even on non-touch devices. I know that many ultrabooks have touch screens but it isn't a given, so gaining most word of mouth on tablets might even be good news for Windows 8.

Part of the issue is that the overall PC market is shaping up to be flat compared to last year (flat as in next to zero growth). That means that OEM sales (all operating systems) will also be flat - BYOPC may be the one part of that overall market to actually grow.

There are three reason *why* the forecast looks like it should be buttered and covered in syrup -

1. Poor economic growth means flat IT spending - especially for hardware.
2. What hardware gets bought will be lower-end - tablets and slates primarily. (While there will be SOME Windows 8/RT uptake there, the forecasters are pointing to Android, Android, and more Android - based on price, not features.)
3. Oddly enough, with all the criticism of Windows 8/RT as a *phone OS*, that will actually (according to those same forecasters) drive UP sales of Android - which actually *is* a *phone OS* - more so than even WindowsRT.

derekaw said,
Sales of devices running a desktop OS are in decline and that will continue. This includes Windows 8.

This. PC sales are in decline because a great many people don't actually need a desktop at home. Most people simply want something to browse the web and consume media with. Desktop PC's are overkill for that, when tablets will suit them just fine.

All desktop OS's are going to get hit by slowing desktop sales.

derekaw said,
Sales of devices running a desktop OS are in decline and that will continue. This includes Windows 8.

It annoys me to say it but Apple has managed to achieve double digit Mac growth nearly every year for the past five years it's only the PC industry that seems to experience these woes.

thealexweb said,

It annoys me to say it but Apple has managed to achieve double digit Mac growth nearly every year for the past five years it's only the PC industry that seems to experience these woes.

Yep, the Mac's don't get viruses thing did a LOT of good for Apple. However, I would submit that most of those people are like my sister. Had a PC didn't use it much, got a virus. Got a Mac, don't use it much, won't ever upgrade it, moved on to a laptop, didn't use it much, moved on to a kindle fire, uses it tons.

thealexweb said,

It annoys me to say it but Apple has managed to achieve double digit Mac growth nearly every year for the past five years it's only the PC industry that seems to experience these woes.

Joe works at McDonalds. He makes $5/hour. He was promoted to head fry cook, and got a $1/hour raise. At 20 hours/week, he went from making $5200/year to $6240/year for a 20% increase in wages

John works in IT, he was making $150,000/year, and got a standard cost of living increase of $2000/year, for a 1.3% increase in wages.

Would you rather have the job with the 1% increase, or the 20% increase? The same happens with the Mac vs. PC sales - yes, Macs have been growing with double digit increases, but still, a small percentage increase in PC sales overshadows the number of Macs sold. And even with the great percentage increase of Macs sold vs. PCs sold, Mac has not been gaining in overall marketshare, they have been stagnant for many years.

nohone said,

Joe works at McDonalds. He makes $5/hour. He was promoted to head fry cook, and got a $1/hour raise. At 20 hours/week, he went from making $5200/year to $6240/year for a 20% increase in wages

John works in IT, he was making $150,000/year, and got a standard cost of living increase of $2000/year, for a 1.3% increase in wages.

Would you rather have the job with the 1% increase, or the 20% increase? The same happens with the Mac vs. PC sales - yes, Macs have been growing with double digit increases, but still, a small percentage increase in PC sales overshadows the number of Macs sold. And even with the great percentage increase of Macs sold vs. PCs sold, Mac has not been gaining in overall marketshare, they have been stagnant for many years.

For Apple not to have been gaining market share the PC market needs to grow at the same rate, but there's been virtually no PC growth for years now.

CJEric said,

That to me seems factually wrong. Mac marketshare is at 7.16% right now, up from 3.5% 5 years ago.
(http://www.netmarketshare.com/...spx?qprid=8&qpcustomd=0)

That is a 3.6% difference in 5 years. First, there is always a margin of error in any statistical sampling. Second, depending on how you look at the numbers, 3.6% could be just a rounding error. But let's assume that Mac did grow 3.6%, the point still stands. Apple fans like to talk about the huge growth in percentage of Mac sales, double digits year over year over year over ..., and yet they have only gained 3.6% to scratch out 7.16% of the market in just short of 29 years.

Majesticmerc said,

This. PC sales are in decline because a great many people don't actually need a desktop at home. Most people simply want something to browse the web and consume media with. Desktop PC's are overkill for that, when tablets will suit them just fine.

All desktop OS's are going to get hit by slowing desktop sales.

One could also argue the decline is due to a lack of innovation in the PC market and desktops people purchased 4-5 years ago are capable of doing everything they require.

I know I haven't upgraded because of this, why should I? this plays every day, runs every program, encodes videos fast, there is zero reason to upgrade, this includes Windows 8.

thealexweb said,

For Apple not to have been gaining market share the PC market needs to grow at the same rate, but there's been virtually no PC growth for years now.

CJEric said that total marketshare of Mac grew 3.6% over 5 years. That averages to 0.72% increase year over year. Good for Apple, they grew their business. But that is not exactly taking over the market segment. Jumping from 0% to 40% (or whatever they have now) of the market with the iPhone, that is impressive growth. But 0.72% yoy is nothing to be impressed with, and there are other markets that they can steal marketshare from, for example Linux. But we do see PCs growing, not as big as they used to.

While looking for stats, I ran across an article calling for the ousting of Ballmer. Imagine the rage towards him if Windows 8 received only 0.72% of the market on October 26, 2013. Would he still have a job?

nohone said,
there are other markets that they can steal marketshare from, for example Linux.

Linux has been pretty steady at 1% over the last four years.

CJEric said,

Exactly.

First read this article: http://www.neowin.net/news/win...erry-market-share-in-europe

OK, so WP7 has a 5% marketshare (for a specific time period in Europe so you can't do an exact comparison) with an increase in sales of 31.6%. The iPhone and Android fans like to mock WP7 for being a failure, but they have 5% of the market with double digit growth numbers.

Mac has a great future with 7% of the market after nearly 3 decades and double digit growth, but in a couple years with 5% of the market an double digit growth, WP7 is still irrelevant, right?

nohone said,

First read this article: http://www.neowin.net/news/win...erry-market-share-in-europe

OK, so WP7 has a 5% marketshare (for a specific time period in Europe so you can't do an exact comparison) with an increase in sales of 31.6%. The iPhone and Android fans like to mock WP7 for being a failure, but they have 5% of the market with double digit growth numbers.

Mac has a great future with 7% of the market after nearly 3 decades and double digit growth, but in a couple years with 5% of the market an double digit growth, WP7 is still irrelevant, right?


I never even mentioned WP.

Look - you claimed Mac marketshare had been stagnant for many years. I corrected you on that. That's all there is to this.

CJEric said,

I never even mentioned WP.

I did. Deal with it.

The original article didn't mention Mac, but yet it was brought up (go ahead, reread the article.). I was contrasting the mythical leap in Mac market share with the constant mockery of the WP7 market share.

nohone said,

I did. Deal with it.

The original article didn't mention Mac, but yet it was brought up (go ahead, reread the article.). I was contrasting the mythical leap in Mac market share with the constant mockery of the WP7 market share.


ok.

deadonthefloor said,
slow win8 adoption, no.

Selling less of the overly expensive iWannabe devices, definitely.

The two aren't mutually exclusive. Less selling of PC's is going to cause a drop in Windows 8 adoption, even if it's not Windows 8's fault.

Majesticmerc said,

The two aren't mutually exclusive. Less selling of PC's is going to cause a drop in Windows 8 adoption, even if it's not Windows 8's fault.

Desktops and laptops will continue to decline... but I think Win 8 tablets will sell well. Who would want a ultrabook when you can simply get a tablet with a detachable keyboard? Many Win 8 tablets will have ultrabook level hardware as well. They're basically ultrabooks with removable keyboards, it's a no brainer.

Ultrabooks and laptops are dying and this will greatly accelerate with Win 8. I'll be replacing my laptop with a Surface Pro. It's took a long time but with Win 8 tablets will finally be useful.

NoClipMode said,

Desktops and laptops will continue to decline... but I think Win 8 tablets will sell well. Who would want a ultrabook when you can simply get a tablet with a detachable keyboard? Many Win 8 tablets will have ultrabook level hardware as well. They're basically ultrabooks with removable keyboards, it's a no brainer.

Ultrabooks and laptops are dying and this will greatly accelerate with Win 8. I'll be replacing my laptop with a Surface Pro. It's took a long time but with Win 8 tablets will finally be useful.

I wonder what those devices are classified as. I am definitely looking into getting one, but only because they do have the power of an ultrabook and not some wimpy ARM tablet that can only be used as a secondary device.