PC makers failed to anticipate mobile internet demand
The PC industry's lack of innovation and over-reliance on outdated business models and driving volume on price declines is now seriously impacting the ability to induce new replacement cycles. This is according to Gartner research director George Schiffler, reported in Fortune magazine. His strong criticism of the industry is at the end of a Gartner report which warns clients not to expect worldwide PC shipments to exceed 352.4 million this year. This is only 14% more than in 2009 and significantly lower than Gartner's earlier 17% growth prediction.
Another Gartner research director, Ranjit Atwal, says that tablets made by Apple and others will displace around 10% of PC sales. According to Gartner, the chickens are coming to roost for PC makers that failed to anticipate, as Apple did, the popularity of mobile internet devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
As a lay observer, I am impressed that Apple can continue to command premium prices while the PC industry is general is chasing sales at ever lower prices. There have been real reductions in Apple laptop prices over the past three years - you now get more bang for your buck, especially in the new Airs - but the list prices are still high in comparison with PC competitors. It seems that the consumer is prepared to pay highly for the Apple experience. The products have a strong identity and image of quality and, as outlined in other recent reports, the after-sales service is seen as the best.
This week, Computerworld reported that a third of American consumers planning to purchase a laptop in the next 90 days will buy from Apple. Anecdotal evidence points to much of this demand being generated by the new MacBook Airs, with the 11-in model "flying off the shelves".