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back to article Hey Intel, Microsoft: Share those profits with your PC pals, eh? - analyst

Tech research analyst Gartner reckons profit-hoggers Intel and Microsoft need to give their PC-producing pals a shot in the arm. This may be a radical solution proposed by the beancounter, but such is the perilous state of the classic PC market that something has got to give. At least, that's what Gartner reckons. "Microsoft …

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PC-producing pals

HAHAHHAHA! as if. The profit-hoggers will bleed em dry then buy them out for cheap and control the end to end. Why build a factory when you can buy a read made one for half the price.

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Meh

Re: The problem is simple

There were never the crazy software/chip margins in mass produced PC's. The money came from volume & now the consumer market is fairly saturated & tablets are being purchased for home use because they do all most users need.

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Windows

Re: The problem is simple

Eadon,

An OEM licence over a 4 year period would cost the buyer about 25€ per year, that's not a very substantial amount of money.

Dell have tried a few times to sell PCs with Linux and the unwashed masses simply didn't care. I don't believe for a moment that it is the cost that is a problem, Apple are proof of that fact.

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Re: The problem is simple

"People don't want a PC with Windows 8 on it."

Your half right. They don't want a PC with the not-Metro interface.

They want what they are used to, with some improvements, not something that looks like a big phone, and a phone they don't want at that.

It would not be hard to make not-metro optional and make apps run in a window, but I don't think MS is ready to eat crow yet.

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Linux

Dell have tried a few times to sell PCs with Linux and the unwashed masses simply didn't care. I don't believe for a moment that it is the cost that is a problem, Apple are proof of that fact.

Dell didn't do it right. (IMO and in passing, Dell lost the plot even w.r.t. everyday Windows PCs. Their customer service went from one of the best to a candidate for the worst on the planet. I have no Idea if it has since recovered. Having jumped ship to a different supplier, there's never been any reason to look back! )

Anyway, if you are talking about selling Linux to the masses, Google did it right(ish). It's called Android. The masses don't care that it's forked from the one true Linux kernel tree. Nevertheless, it's a sort of Linux under the hood.

So far it's Apple iPhone / iPad that's the biggest loser, but I suspect Android may yet become a force to be reckoned with in the PC sector as well (ie where a big screen, keyboard and mouse are needed).

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Happy

Re: Linux

All of you are wrong :-)

The majority of people don't care that it's Windows, Mac, or Linux. They don't even care what it can do (you think my mother cares about a VPN connection on a mobile?). No, they only care about the learning curve, the rest prefer options.

Not all, but the majority of people today that actually care about PC/Mobile brands are snobs or just campy beyond justification. Just because I run Debian doesn't mean I chose it because it was Linux, I chose it because I like the kind of options you can't get in the WinMac world.

And BTW, the concept of "what works" is seemingly becoming synonymous with "doesn't do shit", because now FaceBook has a mobile. And scarily enough, their phone has a learning curve lower than everyone's!

Oh, almost forgot, Micro$oft suCks!! Raaaaaaagh! :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem is simple

Don Jefe - Quite obviously you have never written a letter in your life.

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FAIL

"...and nothing of value was lost."

OK, that's a bit harsh, but the loss of a few PC assemblers is probably inevitable; those that are left can just get bigger slices of a shrinking pie.

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Anonymous Coward

Erm

Why would they bother - Gartner says the PC is dead so just ignore the market :)

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Meh

Mature market

I doubt that the PC is dead. For a lot of purposes, especially business or serious work, you need a keyboard and a mouse and a decent screen at arm's length.

I think what's changed is that no-one sees a compelling reason to buy a new PC every three or four years. The old one works just fine. Folks really don't want Windows 8. Lots of folks don't even want Windows 7. They'd be happier sticking to XP, except Microsoft are hitting the kill switch. Apple must be rubbing their hands in glee, since a Mac is the obvious alternative to Windows 8 for a home user who is forced off XP. Intel don't care - it's the same chip in a PC or an iMac.

Market maturation happens with every new technolgy sooner or later. The market saturates, the rate of progress slows, "New" goes from "must have" through "boring" to "bloody annoying gimmickry", and sales drop to the level necessary to replace hardware that has physically failed. I'd guess that's a new PC every six to twelve years, rather than a new PC every three to five years.

Tablets are selling like hot-cakes because the market for them is neither mature not saturated. Their time will come (and faster than it did for the PC). Most folks not living in poverty will soon have BOTH a tablet AND a PC, because each has its place.

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Re: Mature market

I could be very wrong about this, but the 'mobile space' seems to be innovating and accelerating far quicker than the desktop arena. Desktop and laptop cpu's seem to be plodding along with modest incremental gains (at least for intel) where each year you get maybe a 10-15% boost. Mobile chips seem to be approximately doubling in speed (not mhz, but gflops). Amd are no longer lighting a fire under intel. Ultrabooks seem to be pushing cpu development towards graphics.

What I would love to see is Intel take something like the 4770, throw away the gfx part of the die and add more cache and cores then put it in a workstation laptop (lenovo w series?) with decent cooling . Now make it actually scale performance, so when it's on mains it runs circa 80w but drops speed and watts on battery. I have heard intel make noises about it in the past but their laptop chips always seem to take a performance hit. I would pay good money for that, add a 17inch 4k screen and I'd pay a hell of a lot more (especially if the OS played nice at that res, would be perfect for photo editing). Theres just not much exciting going on, it's all nice safe incremental updates. Apple to their credit are pushing screen resolutions up. Spending $2k -$5 on a laptop or a desktop, it's got to deliver something wow, and honestly it's too easy to go thats too close to what I have, lets wait till next year oh and maybe grab a tablet as they are relatively cheap and fairly versatile, especially with remote desktop.

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Anonymous Coward

'mobile space' seems to be innovating and accelerating far quicker than the desktop arena.

That has a lot to do with ARM and open-source software (namely the Linux Kernel) repatriating control to manufacturers who are free to innovate from a lower cost base.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mature market

@RS You are right in observing mobile appears to be moving much faster but that's simply because is started from such a low position (as with early days in desktop PC tech). ARM had a major advantage on power efficiency but at the cost of much lower performance. x86 was much faster but power inefficient. The recent performance gains on ARM SoC are more obvious to the layman than the x86 power-related enhancements but its really 6 and two 3s.

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Holmes

Re: Mature market

"I doubt that the PC is dead. For a lot of purposes, especially business or serious work, you need a keyboard and a mouse and a decent screen at arm's length."

That has always been the case. Even in the area of clunky 486 with horrible OS, you could get a decent machine for approx 10'000 USD (the then-valued USD) from SGI. We may be getting back to that.

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FAIL

Why is there such a disconnect

between the industry, and the market ? It's painful to see, and certainly isn't great PR for capitalism and the free market.

PC sales have tanked, because nobody needs a new PC right now. I'm working on a 3 year laptop supplied by work. My wife and sons PCs are 4 year old boxes I put Win7 on. I see absolutely no need to upgrade. Possibly replace in the event of a failure, but even then, I have some older XP boxes in the loft that would probably do.

Now, Win2000 ran software that people (especially in business) needed to run. Therefore NT4->Win2000 was a big event.

XP ran software that Win2000 couldn't. So there was a push to that. The first crack in the dam occurred when Vista didn't really add anything to XP.

Win 7 came along at a lucky point in the cycle, and drove a few upgrades, but given I am working on a Win7->XP machine, it wasn't essential

So here we are today. Win8 just doesn't add anything people *need*.

It's like mobile phones ... in our household (we've not drunk the Apple kool-aid) we're all happy with 2+ year old phones.

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Re: Why is there such a disconnect

True and also neither the new hardware or OS doesn't add anything you WANT :-) No sit up and beg awesomeness.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why is there such a disconnect

@JimmyPage. Just because YOU don't need or want to upgrade doesn't mean NOBODY wants or needs a new PC or can benefit from a modern Windows 8 class machine. Sorry to single you out but there is way too much comment on the site by people who take a very self-centred view of the world beyond the tip of their nose.

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Big Brother

Re: Why is there such a disconnect

"It's painful to see, and certainly isn't great PR for capitalism and the free market"

On the contrary. This opens possibilities for new entrants. That's what it is about. Unless they are kept off the market by "Intellectual Property" (state-subsidized monopoly, that is), which is a pain for everyone.

The alternative is to have a Soviet Computer For Everyone on your desk. You know you don't want that for quite a lot of reasons.

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@AC 14:43

I wasn't saying there has been a slump of sales because *I* don't need a new PC. I was pointing out that if you extrapolate my situation, you can work out why PC sales are nosediving. All I was doing was using my personal situation to inform my professional view - with the appropriate level of caution.

There was a Samsung stand in my local shopping mall last week. Despite their being loads of phones, the few times I walked past it in a 2 hour period, the only things people were eyeballing were the tablets.

Hardly scientific, but it would cause me to want to know more before I invested in selling Samsung phones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why is there such a disconnect

If you think the Wintel PC ecosystem represents "free markets"...you are thoroughly confused.

As others have mentioned here, as the netbook market ramped up, you think Wintel politely asked all the OEMs not to use AMD and Linux...? They also blocked OEMs from using XP below certain resolutions and dropped pricing on Vista to force them on to netbooks models.

As AMD had a 2-yr advantage while Intel was tripping over their stacks of cash many years ago, recall how Dell was threatened to cancel (or limit) their use of low-cost AMD CPUs, etc, etc...

And if you think this innovation-killing hasn't been going on for decades, recall when Gates had dinner with Andy Grove when he found out Intel wanted to embed audio support & voice recognition at the hardware-level. Gates screamed at him like a mafioso -- but he's a beloved philanthropist now. ;)

Forget history at your peril.

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Anonymous Coward

Mature markets

The PC market is really going to start looking like the car market. Sadly, I suspect a lot of PC marketers have taken jobs with car manufacturers ... electric cars and Win8 really do go together ...

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Windows

There's a pimp analogy here somewhere

Don't panic - you will still be able to get PCs. These new mobile things are amazing though.

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Gaming/PC Bang Analogy?

In Korea, Nexon, a gaming company of significant note, is reducing the royalties owed by gaming shops. The high royalties were killing some of the PC Bangs (pronounced pee-shee-ppohng, in Korean). Some, in good locattions are very busy, daily. In in Itaewon, observed a dying gaming parlor being transformed into a pool hall. Took a few weeks to make the conversion. It had to -- it was devoid of significant gamer counts for months on end. Others just faded away.

If the computer maker do not see a reason for improvement, and consumers don't buy in decent quantities, then some of these companies will wither or adapt in ways not necessarily good for ms, Intel, et al.

For me, most of the hardware available looks uninspiring and some of it ugly. HP's envy looks almost as nice as MacBook Pros, but both are wayyyyy out of my pricing band. I am so sick of idiotic designs where the USB ports are where one's hand and mouse would be on a desk, especially on a tight desk. I am sick and tired of the idiotic company behind making all power plugs straight out instead of 90-degrees. This is a problem on planes (where AC outlets now exist on 2 out of 3 abreast headrests (I had an AC outlet on Air Canada, in economy!). It is also stupid that so many laptops are so THICK. They are competing for space inside backpacks that look stupid when approaching camping size but are not actually on a camping ground.

Attractive laptops are not made by shifting keys around and repurposing the Function keys to be subservient to media keys. Stupid keyboard rearrangement just forces me to have a second reason to buy a thin external keyboard.

Anyway, I digress. If PC makers want to boost sales, maybe they should try selling systems that can dual boot Linux and Windows. But, make sure that stuff ms wants to be windows-only is not the only hardware in the chassis/laptop. IF a different NIC works better for Linux, then install that one, too, but just wire it up such that Linux sees and uses it first, so the user need not futz around looking for placating, useless drivers or non-existent drivers that won't work with PCLinux OS -- at the release I'm using, from 2012 -- (Belkin, I'm looking at you and your Model: F9L1101v2. Luckily, the retailer selling it mistakenly marked it at $15 vs the $45 or $60 it was supposed to be. Luckily for them, I did not get greedy and buy their remaining 3 and wiped them out of $90 - $155 potential sales/profit.

There are ways to sell more laptops, but it will take creativity, some losses, and risks. Well, aside from existing laptops just dying out.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/tech/2013/04/134_132570.html

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Re: Dual Boot

Actually unless you are thinking hard about run-time on battery, you don't need to dual-boot. You can run Linux in a VM under Windows and it works just fine. In an ideal world I'd prefer to run Windows in a VM under Linux, but have to admint that getting Linux up and running and supporting the power-management and other integrated features of a notebook can be a a pain (or plain impossible if you didn't research what hardware to buy carefully enough).

Which again makes my point about a mature market. A plain ordinary laptop can happily run a virtual machine! (Or indeed, several VMs at once, if you buy one with an SSD and enough RAM).

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A small article about the investors dumping ms stock...

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/investors-dump-microsoft-pc-stocks-bleak-news-18934120

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Re: A small article about the investors dumping ms stock...

Yeah, dumping it after a 2 day rally that set 6 month high prices, leaving the current price still marginally higher than it was a week ago.

If you need an analyst to tell you that the outlook for PC sales is gloomy, I'm not sure why the fact that you're dumping stock matters.

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What is needed...

is a simple "remove Windows (whatever version) and send me the license fee" button. Then have the units ship with both Linux and that other mess and let users choose.

Of course, I'm dreaming, but what else is new.

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Trollface

Jeez, how come so many of you neckbeards don't understand a very simple fact: People do NOT want Linux.

Yes, you might like it, as might the network admin you hangout with, but 95% of the people who use computers on a regular basis (whether for fun or for work) have no interest in Linux, and will never have it!

And quite a few of them, like me, have tried it and either don't like it, or don't believe it's worth the effort. Windows XP or preferably Windows 7 is all we need!

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Happy

OMG Troll in the 'DARK AGES'

Jeez, how come so many of you BILLBOYZ don't understand a very simple fact: People do NOT want WINDOWS!

Yes, you might like it, as might the tech support guy you hangout with, but 95% of the people who use computers on a regular basis (whether for fun or for work) have no interest in WINDOWS, and will never have it!

And quite a few of them, like me, have tried it and either don't like it, or don't believe it's worth the effort. IOS or preferably Android is all we need!

There fixed it for ya "Troll baby"

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Mushroom

What nobody has mentioned here is that less and less people need a PC at all.

It isn't just Tablets eating the PC's Lunch, it's smart devices, TVs, Bluray players, even Android media streamers.

I can web surf, email, FB(if I actually wanted to) or watch HD video on an Android TV stick, dual core A9 processor, Mali GPU, 1GB of ram and about the same size as a disposable cigarette lighter.

Or I can do so on my Bluray player, or my Tablet, or my TV, or if I want to wait for it to boot up and watch the lights flicker from the power draw, on my PC.

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