The mobility sting

It’s no longer a shocker that the PC market is struggling. IDC and Gartner independently confirmed what most already know.

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The mobility sting ((ITP Images))
By  Manda Banda Published  August 29, 2013

It’s no longer a shocker that the PC market is struggling. IDC and Gartner independently confirmed what most already know. The question that everyone in the channel wants to know is how to transition as PC shipments continue to feel the mobility sting?

Last month, research firms IDC and Gartner both released numbers that show a continuing downturn in PC units shipped in the last three months, for Q2, 2013. IDC reported a worldwide downturn of 11.4% of PC units shipped compared to the same time last year. Gartner reported a 10.9% drop.

Another not-a-shocker data point to anyone paying attention to the PC sector is both research firms blame the popularity of inexpensive tablets as deferring the purchase of new PCs. But, is that the case? What’s behind this shift in the personal computing space?

Whether you take a closer look at last month’s PC numbers, or explore who some of the winners and losers were or better yet, blame things such as Windows 8 (as many have done) for a slumping PC market is in my view, an opinion that anyone playing in this market will have.

However, what is clear is that the PC landscape has changed and fighting this transformation will only cause more damage to those companies that want to stay in the glory bygone years when the PC ruled the IT industry. This could lead to stagnation and possibly a demise from the market.

Clearly the big winner of last month’s PC reports was Lenovo, which was crowned by both IDC and Gartner as the new global leading PC seller, a title HP held for the past seven years.

HP ate a big slice of humble pie, releasing a statement: “We don’t like being number two and we don’t plan to stay there. We have a multi OS, multi architecture and multi form factor computing strategy that we believe will delight customers and rebuild share. We are also focused on building a profitable business that’s smart about its future.”

Despite the downward trend for PCs there were some positives. Commercial replacements as we get closer to the end of Windows XP support will pick up spurring some hardware refresh cycles. What is still unclear is whether these anticipated PC replacement cycles will be able to match the sort of numbers that the IT industry saw whenever a new OS was released.

Lenovo maybe the winner, but if its climb to the top stagnates and the company experiences bureaucratic barricades, that could strangle its ability to innovate something that is crucial for all PC vendors if they are to limit the sting from tablets and smartphone advances.

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