Mini-notebook replacement?

The IDC market research firm today reduced its forecast for PC shipments for 2011 to 4.2 percent, from its previous projection of 7.1 percent. IDC cited factors including an “increasingly conservative economic outlook” but also explained that alternative devices have taken much of the momentum away from the low-priced, “mini-notebook” computers that helped to fuel the consumer PC market in recent years.

“Consumers are recognizing the value of owning and using multiple intelligent devices and because they already own PCs, they’re now adding smart phones, media tablets, and eReaders to their device collections,” says Bob O’Donnell, an IDC vice president in the news release.”And this has shifted the technology share of wallet onto other connected devices.”

Translation: Many people are spending money on iPads and Kindles and phones instead of computers.

IDC says the market will rebound in 2012, returning to double-digit growth over time.

But the short-term trend doesn’t bode well for Microsoft, which relies heavily on sales of Windows pre-installed on PCs to fuel its business. Microsoft last week unveiled the next version of Windows, code-named Windows 8, with a dramatically new interface designed to make the operating system friendlier on tablets and other iPad rivals.

IDC’s forecast reduction wasn’t entirely unexpected, after first-quarter PC shipments came in lower than expected.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Guest

    It’s long past time for MS to move beyond nearly 100% dependency on PC sales for its profits. The writing has been on the wall for years that this market was maturing. If not for netbooks, it would have been obvious sooner. The real concern for MS isn’t so much that PC growth is waning; that’s not great, but all markets eventually do. It’s that MS has failed so badly at what’s taking their place: mobile and tablets, and generally has done such a poor job of diversification. The iPod market is also maturing, but nobody is writing Apple’s obituary or talking about what bad news that is for Apple. Why? Because unlike MS, Apple has succeeded in completing reinventing where the majority of its profit comes from. And the old excuse about “well, but not when you’re the size of MS” no longer applies. Because Apple is now larger and has grown businesses that rival the size of Windows and are growing much faster.

    Fire Ballmer. Fire the board. Get a new CEO who will chop out half of uppper and middle maanagement, and can actually come up with a viable strategy for post PC growth and execute on that vision.

Job Listings on GeekWork