The End of the PC

Sales of PCs – not just Windows machines, but all personal computers – have fallen 14%, the biggest drop since 1994.  But while many are blaming Windows 8, I actually like.  Instead, a Time article fingers the real culprit:

It’s not just that people are stubbornly refusing to see newer versions of Windows as superior to older versions of Windows. Back in the 1990s and early years of this century, PC hardware was getting better at such a rapid clip that new PCs were often far better than the machine you’d bought two or three years earlier. Today, even a four- or five-year-old PC may still have more processing power, RAM and disk space than you need. And the industry is having trouble coming up with new features that large numbers of people find irresistible.

I’m typing this on my desktop, my primary office computer, which runs on a Core2 Duo that was a mid-range processor when I bought it as an upgrade five years ago.  A year ago, I replaced the video card when it failed after seven years in the machine.

And despite my machine’s age, I don’t see a need to buy a new one.  Applications are responsive, they load quickly, and I’m even able to play most games.  And this is on five year old hardware.  Contrast this with ten years ago, when new versions of basic productivity software needed the latest hardware.  And that’s the problem faced by Microsoft and the PC makers: unlike ten years ago, when I needed a new PC every other year merely to keep up, I feel like I’m doing great on a rig that’s a half decade old.

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