Anyone confused about why Microsoft (MSFT) has been working so hard to create an operating system that works across PCs, tablets and smartphones should wonder no more, as new research suggests that iOS and Android devices are slowly cannibalizing PC sales. Sameer Singh over at Tech-Thoughts has gone over some recently released Gartner data and has found that consumers are replacing their PCs much less frequently than they used to, and are instead opting for cheaper, more mobile options such as tablets and smartphones.
Singh also says that consumers are using their PCs less than they used to for critical functions that can also be accomplished by tablets and smartphones. Thus, users don’t feel the need to upgrade their PCs as frequently as they used to since so much innovation has shifted over to the mobile space.
“Over the last couple of years, it has become more and more apparent that PCs are seen as appliances, in that owning a PC is a necessity, but upgrading one is not,” he writes. “This has been driven by a shift in development activity from the traditional PC platform to mobile devices and the web/mobile web. When was the last time one of us had to upgrade a PC in order to run a new application?”
So is there any hope for the PC industry? Singh isn’t seeing it at the moment as he thinks Windows 8 will be too much of a shock for users who have spent their whole lives clicking on the Windows “Start” button and could create a major backlash against Microsoft.
“This UI shock is likely to freeze the broader market, which will make the already extended PC replacement cycle even longer,” he says. “Microsoft seems poised to make this problem worse by limiting the downgrade option (from Windows 8 to Windows 7) to Windows 8 Pro and not the basic version of Windows 8.”