The PC Market’s Decline May Affect Tech Pros

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The PC market is imploding, thanks in large part to the rise of mobile devices as the center of most peoples’ computing lives.

According to research firm Gartner, PC shipments declined 9.5 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015. IDC reported a drop of 11.5 percent for the same period. If you’re a manufacturer of desktops and laptops, in other words, you’re probably not having the most fantastic year, at least in terms of units shipped and sold. (The exception is Apple’s Mac, which has enjoyed not-insignificant gains even as its rivals tumble.)

“Soft retail demand, short term weakness from inventory reductions, some cannibalization from competing devices, and low demand for large commercial refreshes are among the factors that reduced PC shipments,” Rajani Singh, a senior research analyst at IDC, wrote in a statement accompanying that firm’s numbers. “Nevertheless, moving forward, we expect a healthy second half as inventory and purchase decisions pick up following the launch of Windows 10.”

But that’s a lot to bet on Microsoft’s next operating system, which finds itself in tough competition with Apple’s iOS and Google Android for not only consumers, but also developer interest.

For tech’s biggest companies, a decline in PC sales could have an appreciable effect on both the bottom line and employee ranks. Last week, for example, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich hinted that a sizable portion of his company’s upcoming layoffs will come from its PC division, due in large part to declining sales. “If the PC market’s shrinking at a faster rate, we should spend less money there,” he told employees, according to The Oregonian (via Business Insider).

Those tech pros whose businesses depend in a significant way on PC sales (including tech support, app development, and hardware) may find it prudent to focus a bit more on other lines of business, especially mobile. Even if Windows 10 does spark shipments in the short term, the overall trend for PCs over the past two years has been down; and while desktops and laptops are unlikely to go away entirely, it’s fair to guess they’ll take up a smaller portion of the tech industry in coming decades.

Image Credit: ID1974/Shutterstock.com

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