We are clearly now in the “post-PC” era. According to IDC, as reported by Reuters, Q4 PC sales were down significantly from last year:
PC makers sold 89.8 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter of last year, down 6.4 percent from the same quarter of 2011. That was slightly worse than expected by most, and the worst performance for more than five years, when the global economy shuddered to a halt and ushered in the worst recession since World War II.
For all of 2012, 352 million PCs were sold, down 3.2 percent from 2011. That was the first annual decline since 2001, according to IDC, in the wake of the tech stock crash and the September 11 attacks.
Source: IDC (1/13)
So far consumers are largely indifferent to Windows 8 and the Microsoft RT tablet PC hasn’t caught on. According to Samsung execs, speaking to CNET, soft demand will keep the company from introducing a Windows RT machine in the US:
Mike Abary, the Samsung senior vice president . . . told CNET today at the Consumer Electronics Show that the Korean electronics giant won’t be launching its Qualcomm-powered Windows RT device in the US . . . First, feedback from its retail partners indicated demand for such products is only modest. Second, Samsung determined it would take a lot of investment to inform consumers about the benefits of Windows RT.
Later today comScore will release December US search market share numbers that indicate PC search volumes are declining, cannibalized by a shift to mobile. This is from my post at Search Engine Land:
[O]verall query volume appears to be declining as mobile devices cannibalize traffic. According to one [Wall Street] analyst, “The declines of the past four months represent the first declines in total desktop search volume since we began tracking the data in 2006.”
In addition comScore data (September, 2012) show that Google Maps on mobile devices now has more usage than its PC counterpart.
However these data pre-date the introduction of Apple Maps. It’s not clear how much Google Maps traffic on mobile has suffered as a result.
What’s happening is a parallel fragmentation of the device market. We’ve moved from PC only to PC, tablets and smartphones. Usage, similarly, is being distributed across these devices and platforms. It’s pretty clear that while the PC/laptop will remain important it will never return to the position enjoyed before the advent of the iPhone and iPad.