Yesterday I wrote at Incognitosis (in Spanish) about the latest data that Canalys published about the PC segment. The numbers are crude but real: sales are down for all hardware makers, and even Apple is feeling the pressure.
Analysts from that firm suggested -not really a new argument- that the smartphone is guilty for that reality, but there is at least one more reason:
Your PC (or laptop) is good enough.
I made two polls that would be useful to confirm that idea, but the results were not so definitive as I would have thought. The first question, “How many years have you been using the same PC or laptop?” was pretty conclusive: 7 out of 10 users have a machine that is at least 3 years old.
The second question was more interesting: “Are you thinking of buying a new PC or laptop?“. The answers were pretty different from what I would have assumed:
As you may see there (although the poll is in Spanish) there are many people here who is thinking in buying a new desktop PC (around 40%) or a new laptop/convertible (46%) in the next three years. I think my audience is really tech related -the same happens here- so the poll isn’t that definitive in either case, but I would have thought of much more reduced percentages there.
After analysing the results, there’s an obvious fact: we updated our old PCs because we had to. If we didn’t, we were just missing the future. We wouldn’t have been able to enjoy those exciting features Windows and its apps and games were giving us. We always want more, but in that case we also needed more in order to avoid falling behind.
That’s not the case anymore. The market is mature and most people feels no need to upgrade or buy a new PC. Their machines are good enough, and Microsoft has made a big mistake with Windows 10, an OS that runs even better than Windows 8 or Windows 7 in old hardware. What happened with minimum requirements? Suddenly the equation didn’t work for us. And that’s a tragedy for Microsoft, Intel, AMD and all the rest of companies that once were successful thanks to that feeling of being compelled to buy a new PC.
Canonical wants to get thing right before releasing it
Your next PC will be your smartphone.
That’s the idea Mark Shuttleworth – creator of Ubuntu and founder of Canonical- sold us on October 31st, 2011. The convergence dream was very real, but the plan failed.
Ubuntu didn’t deliver that promise on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (April’14) as expected, and we’re still waiting for them to show what’s their real proposal. There are some early demonstrations of how Ubuntu will work on your smartphone to deliver a desktop experience, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
That’s exactly what Shuttleworth explained recently on a Google Hangout in which he told us to avoid impatience:
I think that it’s important we carefully shape the emergence of Ubuntu so that it goes to people who are going to love it and contribute to it and be part of the ecosystem. I think it would be a mistake for us to try to go too fast because if we put it in the hands of people who don’t care about Ubuntu and don’t want to be part of it, right now they would be disappointed, we would be disappointed and the whole thing would be a mess. I think that the steady growth is clear.
That’s probably a wise position, but since Windows 10 is copying providing exactly that kind of dream with the exact same features Ubuntu wanted to deliver, one could think Ubuntu will arrive too late to the party. In fact, anyone who has tried Ubuntu Touch can confirm that this approach, although original -The Scopes are weirdly original and bold-, tries to distract us from the fact that the platform has almost no relevant mobile apps. And the ones they have aren’t really well done either in terms of design, usability and swiftness.
Let’s hope Ubuntu can really deliver what we all expect from them. We have to be cautious, though: Microsoft is a behemoth and even with their resources they will have a big challenge in the mobile space with this new philosophy. It’s probably their last chance to gain significance here, and Ubuntu is still far from what Windows 10 has accomplished.
Dell has paid a staggering $67 billion for EMC, an enterprise storage solutions provider (oh, and that VMware thing). That could sound nice in the regular newspaper, but the deal is a little weird both for end users and for enterprise users.
End users don’t really know that Dell has been playing a prominent role in different enterprise scenarios for the last few years: they only know the company as a PC maker.
They were born this way, but they recognized long ago that the PC era wasn’t going to be eternal. The dawn of the smartphone has made Michael Dell change its focus, and now enterprise is what really matters.
It’s the same thing IBM did when they recognized that their business was not going to be in the end-user space: clones were threatening their IBM PCs, so they withdrew that market. The enterprise market was a safe bet.
Dell is doing the same. I wonder how many surprises we’ve got left from this company in the end-user market. Their Dell XPS machines have been a solid and interesting proposal, but they don’t seem to be able (or be interested, for that matter) to keep the pace of that Microsoft that is surprising us with the new Surface Book.
I guess the PC market is now a liability for them. The company is now more boring than ever, but this has been probably a good business choice.
Steve Jobs is famous for talking about the post-PC era. Tablets seemed then to conquer the traditional PC users, but five years after the launch of the iPad here we are, still using PCs like crazy although obviously smartphones are the devices that go with us everywhere. Tom Warren on The Verge: