So says Gartner, quoted in a report in the WSJ:
One billion personal computers have been sold since the advent of the industry about 25 years ago, Gartner Inc. says.
The research firm Monday plans to announce that the milestone was passed in April. Gartner is also predicting the industry can cross the two-billion-unit mark by 2007 or 2008. But doing that will require recovery from a slump of historic proportions.
In the first decline since 1985, PC sales in 2001 fell 4% to 124.9 million units, a result of souring economic conditions, saturation in the industrialized countries and other factors. Martin Reynolds, a Gartner analyst, predicts growth will resume in 2003, in part because corporations that put off upgrading will have to begin replacing their PCs.
Additional demand from China, Latin America and other emerging markets will also drive future growth, he predicts. Potential bumps in the road include slow delivery of high-speed broadband communications and the addition of copyright-protection technologies to PCs that users may not want, Mr. Reynold says.
Adds a News.com report:
“This demand exists because of the power of the PC to leverage intellectual capital, unlocking the capabilities of individuals to succeed and companies to profit,” Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds wrote in a report. “However, expanding the market will require that PCs become smaller and even less expensive than they are today, while delivering greater functionality and performance.”
Some more interesting stats: “Most of the PCs shipped have gone into developed nations. The United States has received 38.8 percent, or 394 million, of PCs shipped. Nearly 25 percent have gone to Europe, while only 11.7 percent have gone into the Asia-Pacific region, the fastest-growing market today…In terms of design, the vast majority of PCs shipped have been desktops. Only 16.4 percent of PCs shipped were notebooks, and only 2.1 percent were PC servers, or servers based around the chip designs originally devised by Intel. These two markets, though, are expected to be the profit centers for manufacturers in the future.”
And then comes the ridiculous:
In India, for instance, one of the largest future markets for the machines, PCs do not sit on desks in open view. Consumers there want to keep more strict boundaries between work and home life, according to Christine Riley, who heads up the People and Practices Research Group at Intel, a small organization of social scientists, designers and anthropologists that studies how humans interact with machines,and the PC is considered a piece of office equipment. As a result, owners wheel them around on tea carts so they can be kept out of living areas. Smaller, less intrusive PCs in this market are inevitable.
Wonder who feeds them these kind of stories.