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PC sales tumble … again

With home usage shifting to tablets and smartphones, your office may be the last stand for the personal computer

Jim Kerr is Alberta Venture's web editor. Get in touch with him at jkerr@albertaventure.com.

Apr 12, 2013

by Jim Kerr

Is it finally happening?

A major market research firm is out this week with the most damning numbers yet in the ongoing tale of the decline of the personal computer. The International Data Corporation says this quarter saw a nearly 14 per cent drop in PC sales from the same time last year, the largest ever for a single quarter since they began keeping those statistics in 1994.

Lenovo was the only major company to ship the same number of units, while HP (down 23 per cent) and ACER (down 31.3 per cent) were among the hardest hit. Even Apple is reported to have seen a drop in PC sales, though IDC, Gartner and Forbes all have different numbers on that front.

With the rise of the smartphone and tablet over the last few years, PC sales have remained rather flat until now – so, is this the slippery slope that sends desktop computers to your local museum?

Not quite, and those companies may have your office to thank.

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The Guardian reports that businesses seem to be buying PCs at the same rate they previously were, and in some cases, even expanding their purchases. That group accounts for about half of overall PC shipments, which means that while overall demand has shrunk, a decently strong market for this product remains.

What will it take for the final nail to descend into the PC coffin?

Both smartphones and tablets have shown over the years that they possess the ability to replace PCs for certain tasks, but in general, they have yet to develop enough that they are a full-time replacement for most professionals.

If, or when, that happens, it will likely signal the end, but that day is probably a long way off.

How does your business handle the “work computer” situation?

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