The PC is passe

With Compaq Computer and Intel both reporting surprise business slowdowns in the past few weeks, the same old question is getting asked again: is the PC market stagnating?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, so what else is new?

The PC market has been stagnant as a platform for innovation for at least three years. What's kept it growing is A) a rapid and unexpected series of price drops that have made PCs more affordable to people who don't want to do much with them, and B) the fact that buying a PC is the most convenient way to connect to the Internet. But beyond that, PC sales have become less and less a meaningful indicator of the computer industry's health.

If you were focused on the PC market last year, for example, you would have missed the most remarkable PC story of 1997: the success of 3Com's little PalmPilot device. The PalmPilot now has more than a million rabid users, and it doesn't have an Intel chip.

The real action in the computer industry has shifted decidedly away from PCs and into mobile and networked devices. We may not call them network computers. We may call them cable boxes, pagers, handheld organisers, thermostats and telephones. But they are rapidly acquiring microprocessors and links to the Internet. This market segment is about to explode just as PCs become cheap commodities.

That's why Intel, Motorola and Microsoft are clambering into the market as fast as they can.

The PC is no longer a barometer of the computer industry's health. The action has moved to other platforms, where it will stay for a long time to come.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Gillin

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?