Sad Mac Sad Because of Shrinking Sales

The PC industry is a wounded beast:

The reports don’t match on all counts, but both IDC and Gartner agree that global PC shipments in Q1 fell below 80 million units. According to IDC, the performance equates to a 13.9% drop, much worse than the 7.7% decline the firm had expected, and represents the worst year-over-year quarterly decline since it began tracking the segment in 1994. Gartner said the market retreated 11.2%, an estimate that is slightly less bleak than IDC’s but nonetheless alarming to those heavily invested in the PC’s future. Both reports emphasized that the global market has dropped for four consecutive quarters.

Reportedly even Apple is feeling the squeeze. Its Mac line has enjoyed double-digit growth year-over-year for years now, but even they suffered a 7.5% drop last quarter. That’s only about half the decline of the overall market, but it’s a telling indicator that there’s real trouble for traditional laptop and desktop PCs.

The good news for Apple is that they’re cannibalizing their own Mac sales, by selling iPads at a (almost as) nice markup. PC makers first shot their own margins to hell by selling plastic-craptastic netbooks. Now they’re scratching their heads at why consumers won’t buy from them anymore.

There’s another theory that computing has reached a “good enough” plateau, where inexpensive OS updates do more to meet your computing needs than expensive new hardware.

My desktop machine is four years old now, and I have no idea when I’ll ever feel the need to scratch that upgrade itch again. I’ll probably treat it like you do an old beater car: Drive it until something breaks that’s too expensive to repair.

Until then, it’s good enough.