Why are PC sales declining?

Its a hot topic:  PC sales have fallen 14 percent worldwide in the last quarter.  Is the PC computer dead?  And if so, why?

Will Oremus at Slate.com thinks the reason sales of PCs are tanking may be because…they’ve gotten too good.  I tend to agree:


Back when PCs first appeared, there was a very noticeable difference between each new generation.  My first IBM PC, the 8088, was (I felt) a good computer.  Until the newfangled 286 model appeared and absolutely blew it away.  The next year or so appeared a 386 model and that blew the 286 completely out of the water.  Ditto for the 486 and, subsequently, the Pentium.

And then, things simply slowed down.  PCs had incredible speed and it was peripherals which were now improving.  More hard drive memory, better video/sound cards, CD/DVD drives, etc.  But the computers themselves reached a level of, if not “perfection”, a level where they were good enough that you didn’t feel you needed to get the latest model.

I picked up new computers every year or two yet the computer I’m writing on now is over five years old…and I haven’t even considered buying a new one.  Instead, I’ve changed the hard drive (the original one crapped out), put in a better video card, and bought a large flatscreen monitor (my original monitor, which came with the computer, was the old heavy glass monitor, a relic today).

So PC sales are falling…so what?  As much as I like my smartphone and my tablet, neither of them can take the place of my PC.  I use it for my writing and for my art.  I keep my music on it and all my photographs and files.

The PC, I suspect, will always exist in some form.  Perhaps its rebirth (sales-wise) lies in a technology that is just about to be released.

We’ll see.