Windows 8 is "a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms" and may not halt slow PC growth, warns IDC

Windows 8 is "a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms" and may not stop the declining growth in PC sales, warns a just-released IDC report. The reports adds that PC sales will be only up a fraction of a percent in 2012 over 2011.

The report concludes that worlwide PC sales in 2012 will be 367,200,000, just barely above last year's 363,900,000. It says that this marks the second year in a row of growth of under 2%.

The report says that sales in mature markets like the United States will decline this year, 153,300,000 compared to 155,100,000 in 2011, the second year in a row in which PC sales declines. Last year, sales declined 8.7% in mature markets. The report claims that worlwide slow growth is due to the struggling economy, to people waiting to see whether they want to buy Windows 8 PCs, and the effect of smartphones and tablets. It says:

"Consumers have been hit by weak economic conditions, but are also waiting to see what Windows 8 and Ultrabook products will look like while considering spending on other products like media tablets and smartphones."

The report says that the release of Windows 8 has the potential to revive the market somewhat -- but that because Windows 8 represents such a departure from the past, it may not succeed in increasing PC sales. Jay Chou, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker noted:

"Factors such as Windows 8 coupled with Ultrabooks could present a positive turn of events next year, but it also faces some initial hurdles; chief of which is that buyers must acclimate themselves to an operating system that is a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms. The PC ecosystem faces some work to properly educate the market."

It's never a good thing when a company has to "properly educate the market" about a product it's releasing. And it's even worse when that product, in this case Windows, has been around for several decades and has long practically had a worldwide monopoly.

This is one more example of why Microsoft made a mistake in building an operating system that tries to do double-duty for both PCs and tablets. As a tablet operating system, Windows 8 is a winner. As a PC operating system, it's not. And because of that, it may not help the worlwide depressed PC market.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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