Owning a PC back in the nineties was a big deal. It offered you an advanced way to play games and maybe type a letter as homework. Early versions of the desktop computer now rest in peace at technology museums around the globe, and from the looks of it, the ones that you may have at home are heading straight there soon.
Today, desktop computers have to compete with their more portable adversaries, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.
But what if humans had to compete with mobile technology?
Elon Musk, the Tesla’s and SpaceX’s CEO, announced in March 2017 that he had started another company, Neuralink, which aims to make implants for the human brain that can wirelessly interface with a computer, as per the Wall Street Journal. It’s called “neural lace.”
That all signals the end of PCs, but the PC story is not over yet.
PCs for browsing
A 2017 study by Stone Temple, a digital marketing agency, shows that people still spend more time on websites via a desktop computer than on a mobile device.
It said that mobile devices generated the most visits, but that desktop sites still drove engagement the most.
However, a recent report by Gartner, a research and advisory company, suggests that Worldwide PC shipments totaled 67 million units in the third quarter of 2017, a 3.6 per cent decline from the third quarter of 2016.
What does this mean for the industry?
Earlier this year, an analyst from Global Equities Research, Trip Chowdhry, predicted that there would be some major layoffs in the tech sector in 2016, according to Tech Radar, a platform for technology reviews.
The scarier part of his prediction is that most of these laid-off employees are not going to find tech jobs again, because their skills will be obsolete.
Techradar said that Intel started laying off employees in April 2016, after a massive decline in their PC sales.
Time.com quoted Intel CEO Brian Krzanich after the layoffs as saying that the company’s strategy aimed at transforming the company from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices.
HP Inc. decided in 2016 to cut about 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years, as the maker of printers and personal computers continues to struggle with a subdued market.
“Our core markets are challenged and macro-economic conditions are in flux right now,” HP Chief Executive, Dion Weisler, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
But what is the reason behind the decline in PC usage, even though it is capable of drawing more sites engagement for internet users?
Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said that PC component shortages were one reason behind the drop in PC shipments, which is driving PCs’ prices up.
“There are ongoing component shortages, with DRAM shortages getting particularly worse during the third quarter of the year compared with the first half of 2017,” she said.
“The component price hike impacted the consumer PC market as most vendors generally pass the price hike on to consumers, rather than absorbing the cost themselves,” Kitagawa said.
She continued: “We expect the DRAM shortage to continue to the end of 2018, but it will not be reflected in the final PC prices immediately.”
Computer World, a technology advisory company, reveals that a shortage of a number of components are driving PC prices up and that the situation isn’t expected to change in the coming quarters.
Computer World quoted Gianfranco Lanci, Corporate President and Chief Operating Officer at Lenovo, as saying that a shortage of DRAM, SSDs, batteries and LCDs conspired to drive up PC prices.
The tablet revolution
According to eweek, a platform dedicated to technology reviews, it’s hard to find innovation in the PC business today.
“Innovation appears to be dead in the PC market,” it added.
“What’s worse, PC’s features, including applications and hardware add-ons, do nothing to excite computer buyers these days who seem to be paying closer attention to the latest tablets and smartphones,” it said.
Hosting facts, a web hosting services and reviews, says that there are more mobile internet users than desktop internet users. It should be noted that there were 3.5 billion global mobile internet users in August 2017.
In 2016, mobile and tablet devices had accounted for 51.3 per cent of internet usage worldwide in October, compared to 48.7 per cent by desktop.
For sales, desktops fare better, according to Hosting Facts.