Kiss Your PC Goodbye

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PC laptop in the trash
Your desktop -- and maybe even the shiny new laptop that you bought a few months ago -- are dinosaurs.

There's been plenty of evidence suggesting that folks aren't warming up to PCs anymore. The "good enough" computing revolution that has nudged consumers-on-the-go toward smartphones and tablets is taking its toll on the box business.

We saw it on Tuesday when Dell (DELL) reported a 14% drop in PC revenue. It was confirmed a day later when Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) followed up with a 10% dip in PC sales.

Excuses, Excuses

Box bulls will argue that the global slump in PC sales is tied to the soft economies around the world. Once things start to turn around, companies will begin ordering more PCs.

Don't bet on it, investors.

If the global economic malaise is the scapegoat, why are smartphones and tablets selling so well?

Another excuse for the industry's slide is that potential buyers are waiting for Microsoft (MSFT) to push out Windows 8. The buzz is strong on the new operating system, and traditionally PC sales spike when a new version of Windows hits the market.

Well, don't bet on that either.

What makes Windows 8 so special is that it's Microsoft's first platform developed with tablets and other touchscreen devices in mind. Even Microsoft is jumping into the tablet fray, planning to introduce Surface tablets later this year running on two different Windows 8 platforms.

Bye Bye, Ol' Ball and Chain

Obviously, the PC isn't going away overnight.

There are still plenty of people who prefer the larger displays available on laptops and especially desktops. There's also the sheer computing power that hardcore computing enthusiasts, professionals, and diehard gamers crave, which can't be satisfied by a tablet saddled with a Bluetooth keyboard cover.

However, a lot of people who do own PCs are just using them to surf the Web, check e-mail, and fire off the occasional letter. For these casual users it doesn't make a lot of sense to be anchored down by a desktop or to lug around a laptop when new smartphones and tablets can do all that with the convenience of portability.

The trend will continue, and that's bad news for both Dell and HP.



Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft.


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51 Comments

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E.A.Blair

I can build my own PC from parts. Can't do that with a dumbphone.

August 27 2012 at 12:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Peter

I don't own any one. People buying Iphone/Ipad is just because their friends have one. We don't need to manage our finance on the road. They are created for people borned after '80. I still prefer desktop because I can have the choice of the size of the monitor. Small font tends to strain my eyes.

August 26 2012 at 1:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
steve

Considering that the most basic 2 gig data plan for a smart phone in my area is twice as expensive as an unlimited basic internet package for my home...

Umm nty ill stick with my laptop. It still amazes me that people pay these insane phone bills. It costs pennies to provide the service and they charge hundreds of dollars for these plans (with all the pork options).

Somehow the sheeple still dont understand.... If no one pays the insane prices the consumer cost of them would drop rapidly. Then again im out of touch on that one, i still only use my cell phone as a phone and sometimes i shut it off for days at a time just cause its liberating.

August 26 2012 at 12:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Michael Christopher

Perhaps one of the most ignorant, naieve and superficial articles I've ever read. The author has the logic of a 12 year old. Let's make it really simple....have you ever tried to create a simple spreadsheet on a tablet? or format a letter? ....let alone put together a PowerPoint presentation? These are very common things computer users do, both at work and at home. The reason smartphone and tablet sales keep going up is because it's a new market you dolt. PC's are established and people are making do for longer periods. Did someone actually pay you to write this article?

August 26 2012 at 9:27 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
HAT1701D

Sorry, I don't need to be "plugged in 24/7/365". That's why I do not own a smart phone. I don't even have a lap top. I have a ( as in singular ) computer. It sits at my desk where I do my by bills. Simple as that. When I drive...I drive. I don't have a cell phone/smart phone jacked in my ear or texting. When I am at the resteraunt with friends or family, there is no phone at the table by me. Going to the movies...I don't have to worry about turning off my phone, etc. This modern day world is to dang worried about having everyone knowing about where everyone else is and what they are doing all the time. Not needed thanks.

August 25 2012 at 11:44 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HAT1701D's comment
weirdo

Well Put.

August 26 2012 at 3:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
yuccapucka

In education, the trend will be large screen PC's on the high speed Internet with big time computing power. In the work place, the trend will be work that represents action form a distance through the use of tele-robots that are controlled from home with PC's having a lot of computing power for its tele-robotic interface. You can't create educational simulations, and do tele-robotics with a tiny phone. This technology will cut down on automobile traffic saving fossil fuel.

August 25 2012 at 11:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mario

Sorry. I'm not giving up my desktop because some clowns are making up stories to try to artificially shift the parydigm. What they want to do is put everything on the "cloud" and charge you for everything you do. Want to write a paper? Pay the cloud to use Microsoft Word (as one example). Tablets can't hold all of your stuff, no matter how hard you try, and Verizon is already charging MORE for data plans for "new" customers, which means your next contract means that you pay more too!

I have 2 desktops, 2 laptops and one tablet plus 3 smart phones. I use the 8 year old desktop the most, because most of my "older" programs are located there. Another problem is that I don't want people knowing what I'm browsing the web for. My wife was looking up some beach info on my cell phone, and the search was posted to my Facebook page. I don't know how if my number is not listed on Facebook!

What if I were like some of you, looking for a Go Go Bar or something sleazy and now all of my friends know. What kind of crap is that? Just leave what isn't broken alone!

August 25 2012 at 11:27 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mario's comment
weirdo

*Still laughin at "Go-Go Bar....

August 26 2012 at 3:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
M

I absolutely prefer to keep my PC with its software and my data in MY hands, not in "the cloud".

Once the application programs are in the cloud, they are subject to updates that (simply put) can have undesirable and/or unforeseen effects. Program updates sometimes change the format of saved data files, and new ones will only recognize older formats for a limited time --- i.e. data lost simply because it has not been accessed/updated to match new programs.

One of the talk radio shows has already highlighted a "cloud storage" company that went out of business pretty abruptly, and only gave users one week to pull their data off their systems. Some of the users were out of the country, on vacation, etc., and some allegedly never received any notice. Once their server farms were dismantled at the end of the week, ALL that data was lost/destroyed.

Amazon has already demonstrated the ability to remove purchased ebooks from eReaders (one case of alleged copyright violation proved that capability), and gave no refunds. Smartphones have the capability to (really) erase information in those phones remotely, "for safety/security in the event of stolen/lost phones". Now that at least seems like a reasonable idea, until your 'significant other' has a hissy fit and calls in your phone as stolen... And I bet you planned to pay for that lunch by using your smart phone too!

And be wary of "buying" movies for most of the same reasons. If the movie is "in the cloud" of the provider, they might go bankrupt or have their list of movie owners corrupted, and your movies are GONE! Even if you downloaded the movie to your 'device', by extension of the Amazon ebook example, the movie(s) can be deleted in the event of a copyright dispute(?) or any old reason...

August 26 2012 at 8:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
vampyreangelus

it all depends on what you use your pc for, if your a gamer or content creator, then a store bought pc or laptop is useless, you have to build a custom pc if you want to really get the most out of it. if all you care about is web surfing or youtube any laptop, or tablet or smart phone is good enough.

August 25 2012 at 11:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B M

I love my laptop. I have a sony ereader that I can use for internet but choose not to. I like my laptop for all my internet, my phone for all my phone use. Some people don't want to combine all into a small screen. So desktop or laptops won't be going anywhere because not everyone wants to look at a tiny screen.

August 25 2012 at 11:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
rockdaisy13

pff. I'm very getting rid of my desktop. I can't stand laptops cause they hurt my eyes and are slow and hard to upgrade. And my smartphone can only do so much. It's annoying as hell to try to watch youtube on it.

And only a person that has money coming out their ass would say everything that his article just said.

August 25 2012 at 10:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply