- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
Rebooting the PC industry: Tablets force a shift
Question of the Day
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. (AP) - The personal computer industry needs a jumpstart _ and it’s counting on a rescue from emerging markets and a late-to-the-party push into tablet computers.
The U.S. and European PC markets have entered a dangerous new phase: Fewer people are buying new PCs because of economic anxiety, market saturation and the rise of seductive new gadgets such as Apple’s iPad. More signs of strain are expected as PC makers and their component suppliers begin to disclose quarterly earnings this week.
Make no mistake: The PC is still the backbone of the digital world, powering e-commerce, social networking and more. It is a fixture in homes and businesses in industrialized countries. More than 1 million PCs are sold every day, and the industry is bigger than ever.
But worldwide sales have slowed in recent years. The U.S. and European markets have fared the worst, suffering lately from declines compared with the previous year. Market research firms IDC and Gartner Inc. said last week that PC shipments worldwide grew at just over 2 percent in the second quarter, short of both firms’ expectations.
One of the most urgent concerns is that the PC has become ubiquitous in many markets. That has presented the industry with a classic business problem: how to find new ways to sell an established product.
Although it’s true that computers need to be upgraded regularly, businesses are only starting to spend money again as the economy slowly recovers. Consumers are updating their machines less often, spending their money instead on the latest handheld gadgets.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has promoted the changes as a sign we’ve entered the “post-PC era.” Technologists have thrown around that term for a decade in what turned out to be premature predictions, but the characterization may be coming true now.
“This is a time of intense change,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester Research analyst who has studied the evolution of consumer technology. “New competition for PC manufacturers makes it just really, really hard to make a profit.”
As a result, PC makers are looking to emerging markets to boost sales.
The new strategy was evident at Intel’s recent investors’ conference, where the company’s CEO, Paul Otellini, unveiled a map that identified where PC growth is expected to be strongest in coming years.
The U.S. and Europe were conspicuously not highlighted. Otellini gestured instead toward places such as Brazil, Russia, India, China _ the so-called “BRIC” countries _ as well as Mexico, Venezuela, the Czech Republic, South Africa and Turkey. All are expected to experience double-digit percentage growth.
The message: The world’s leading computer chip-maker and its industry allies have no choice but to launch a marketing attack on foreign shores.
PC sales are decelerating in the U.S. because the same technological advances that fueled the PC industry’s rise _ faster processors and lower costs every couple of years _ are now benefiting the devices that are usurping it. Consumers can now use smaller gadgets to do many of the same things they once did with PCs, such as surfing the Internet, storing photos and sending e-mail. Apple even boasts that users can edit home movies on an iPad.
Indeed, consumers’ increasing demand for tablets is a looming threat. Some 50 million tablets are expected to be sold worldwide this year, and that could double to as many as 100 million next year, according to various estimates. Although that’s still small compared with sales of 362 million PCs this year, as estimated by IDC, the PC industry has reason to worry because of how quickly the tablet has been able to claimed such a large corner of the market.
Goldman Sachs calls tablets “one of the most disruptive forces in computing in nearly three decades.” It predicts that as many as 21 million people will buy tablets instead of laptops this year, jumping to 26.5 million next year.
By Matt Kibbe
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- KIBBE: Another Republican budget surrender
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow