New Zealand PC market down 27 percent

Research company IDC reports New Zealand PC sales fell 27 percent in the first quarter of 2013 when compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

In a press release IDC describes this as ‘softness in PC sales’. That’s putting it mildly, we’re seeing a collapse. People are either skipping or delaying PC upgrades preferring instead to buy tablets or smartphones.

Understandably PC makers are cutting the supply of machines. This may lead in turn to less choice and difficulty getting hold of popular models.

IDC says Apple picked up market share in New Zealand during the quarter. It isn’t hard to see why, the company continues to offer more attractive computers and there’s a knock-on effect from Apple’s success with the iPhone and iPad.

In my view PC sales peaked some years ago and are unlikely to recover. There is no innovation waiting in the wings to kick-start a revival.

On the other hand, as I wrote yesterday, advances like the 12 hour battery life in Apple’s new MacBook Air will help slow the decline. I suspect traditional PCs will continue to sell for a while, just not in large numbers.


Underlining Apple’s stunning PC market victory

Apple's PC market victory

The thing that matters most about selling computers is making money. I was conscious of this on Monday when I wrote about Apple’s stunning PC victory.

That story says Apple’s iPad laid waste to the PC industry in the space of just three years. But what about that PC market. Who is the winner there?

The only winner is Apple.

While it is obvious Apple makes proportionally more money from selling PCs than other computer makers, I didn’t have enough information to figure out how much extra the company makes.

Horace Dediu at Asymco has the numbers and it turns out Apple’s PC market dominance is even more pronounced when you look at the slice of profit that company commands.

Apple accounts for almost half of PC industry profits and it makes more than the next five PC makers combined. A stunning victory.

And this is another reminder of why Microsoft is pushing ahead with Windows 8. It is the only plausible route out of this dead-end for Microsoft and the non-Apple PC makers.

PCs retreat as tablets surge

The journalist's ipadWe all know tablets are wiping the floor with traditional PCs, the latest numbers from IDC show tablet sales have almost caught up with desktops. That’s quite something considering the tablet market didn’t get under way until 2010. It looks like they’ll go past laptop sales in 2013.


Smart Connected Device Market by Product Category, Shipments, Market Share, 2012 (shipments in millions) 

Product Category

2012 Unit Shipments

2012 Market Share

2011 Unit Shipments

2011 Market Share

Year-over-year Change













Portable PC






Desktop PC












Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, February 20, 2013.

Mobility Reigns as the Smart Connected Device Market Rises 29.1% in 2012 Driven By Tablet and Smartphone Growth.


Google’s Chromebook Pixel pushes boundaries

Chromebook Pixel

Chromebook Pixel

Google’s new flagship device is the Chromebook Pixel: a US$1,300 laptop with a Retina-like high-resolution touch screen and a 32GB SSD. It uses Google’s Chrome OS which means applications run in the browser, not as native apps. Two models are on sale in the US, one is Wi-Fi only, the other has 4G mobile networking.

The specification is quite a turnaround from earlier Chromebooks. Only last week I wrote about the unappetising cheap, low-end laptops sporting ordinary specifications. The Chromebook Pixel turns that description on its head. There’s enough power for demanding users thanks to a 1.8Ghz Intel Core i5, integrated graphics and 4GB of Ram.

Most of the extra money pays for the screen, which is a 12.85 inch display with a whopping 2560×1700 pixels – that’s more pixels per inch than Apple’s 13 inch MacBook Pro. It should much smoother, easier-to-read text and make graphics sharper – although users will only get the full access with specially updated web pages.

The other highlight is the touch screen, which paves the way for a ChromeOS tablet – that sounds more interesting to me than an Android tablet.

For now high density displays are still something of a freak-show. Google’s move suggests they will quickly become mainstream.

Google’s move is strategically interesting, the company is aiming for high-end users, not those worried about budgets. I suspect it’ll be taken seriously in corporate IT shops, especially those committed to the cloud and Google apps.

Microsoft confirms Office 2013, 365 licence terms

Microsoft Office 2013, 365 licences compared

A post at Microsoft’s Office News website clears up confusion about the number of installations customers are able to make with each version of the new application suite. The table is clear and unambiguous. Customers who buy the Home Premium edition of Office 365 can install the software on five separate devices and transfer licences between devices. The more traditional Office 2013 package is for one device only and can’t be transferred.

Clearly Microsoft wants to make the subscription-based Office 365 the obvious choice. Are there any remaining reasons to choose Office 2013 instead?