The death of the personal computer may be an exaggeration. But the industry around personal computers seems to be in limbo.
Like the mainframe, which was said to be dead decades ago but has remained a meaningful business, the PC will almost certainly cheat death. True, mobile devices like the iPad will continue to gore PC sales. Those mobile devices, though, will most likely never satisfy spreadsheet masters, film editors and other workers who depend on multiple screens and the precision of a keyboard and mouse.
Still, there is a strong view among many longtime tech industry executives that the PC's relevance will steadily diminish.
"In my humble opinion, the PC as we have known it is in a continuous decline and being relegated to a utility device for businesses," said
The mood around the PC industry has become increasingly glum. The business is effectively in a recession, and there is no upturn in sight. During the second quarter of the year, global PC shipments fell around 11 percent, for their fifth consecutive quarter of declines, the worst downturn since the advent of the PC more than 30 years ago.
The once-mighty Dell, deeply weakened by the PC slump, is mired in a struggle with shareholders over a plan to go private, seeking relief from investor pressure. In their bid to take the company private,
While sales of PCs to businesses remain steady, demand among consumers has plunged, largely because people are instead spending money on iPads, Kindle Fires and other tablets.
Still, a reality check: More than 300 million PCs are expected to be shipped this year globally. That is a lot of widgets for a business that has caught a cold.
Tablet sales are growing explosively. This year, there are expected to be more than 200 million shipments of the devices, which will for the first time exceed shipments of notebooks, the largest category of PCs, estimates
One theory is that tablets are leading PC shoppers to postpone their purchases of new computers, perhaps by a year or two, but that eventually people will be ready for a fresh machine. "Replacement cycles are being pushed out," said
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