back to article PC shipments slump in Q3, thanks to free Windows 10

The world's personal computer factories could only shove just over 70 million machines out the door during 2015's third quarter, according to box-watchers IDC and Gartner. IDC says sales were down 10.8 per cent year on year, a worse outcome than the 9.2 per cent dip the firm previously predicted. Windows 10 is partly to blame …

  1. P. Lee

    That's a bit unfair

    There's plenty to bash ms about with w10 but "doesn't make your pc unusable enough" isn't one of them.

    Take that anyway you like.

    1. dogged

      Re: That's a bit unfair

      I heard Windows 10 refuses to return the Register's lawnmower.

      1. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        @dogged RE:"I heard Windows 10 refuses to return the Register's lawnmower."

        Thumbs up for the reference to our beloved Sir Terry Pratchet.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    … it was reported that those who wanted Windows 10 have downloaded it by now.

    I know of a few who are sitting back and watching what happens.

    For me, sticking with Windows 7 and earlier gives me an excuse: it absolves me of any responsibility for assisting with computers running a newer edition of Windows on the grounds of not knowing anything about them. They are different enough that for me to find things, given my infrequent contact with such OSes, locating anything is going to be a case of trial and error or doing a search on the Internet.

    That said, the number of Windows machines I am responsible for is bugger all these days in comparison to the number of Linux boxes I look after.

    I am keeping an eye out on what hardware is out there, but whatever OS it ships with, it'll maybe run that OS for just long enough to assess whether the hardware is fit for purpose before being re-loaded with something more suited to my needs.

  3. Richard Plinston

    Last quarter's fall

    The fall in PC sales last quarter was blamed on Windows 10 not turning up yet. This quarter's fall is blamed on Windows 10 turning up.

    What will next quarter's fall be blamed on ?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Last quarter's fall

      Less trading days due to Thanksgiving and Crimble perhaps?

      Thus totally ignoring Black Friday....

      Statistics, Figures and Damm Lies. It is Gartner after all. They seem to sprout reports that say just what the main sponsor wants it to say. Most of it is guestimates anyway.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Last quarter's fall

        I've been making fun of Gartner's "excuse of the quarter" for four years now, since they started making up reasons why PC sales were down YoY but it was only an aberration. When it was a only a couple percent drop at the start they might have fooled people, but since the drop has accelerated into the double digits more recently it is harder to say this crap with a straight face.

        I think they'll milk this "free Windows 10 upgrade" excuse for a couple more quarters yet, until they can think of something new next year. Maybe they'll claim that next year being year of the Monkey in China is seen as unlucky for PC buying, making them want to hold off for the more auspicious year of the Rooster!

    2. qwarty

      Re: Last quarter's fall

      Low availability of systems with modern (Skylake) processors. Crap 16:9 shaped and low res laptop displays still featuring in many models on sale. Lots more reasons not to upgrade from older models.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Last quarter's fall

        There's almost no improvement in Skylake, a few percent at best. Try again.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Last quarter's fall

      >What will next quarter's fall be blamed on ?

      The failure of MS to announce they are working on Windows 10.1 that will address the problems with 10..

  4. Loud Speaker

    I blame the four Norsemen with Paperclips

    I am meeting a steady trickle of people/boomers who are saying "I can't use a computer any more. These new fangled ones are too difficult for me. It was OK when it was [Windows XP], but the modern stuff is too complicated".

    Their computer now has Windows 7 (not 8.x or 10) and they have still not mastered it. That experience undermined their confidence. They either get their kids to do stuff for them, or use their (Android) phone. They are definitely not going to buy a new computer.

    I also have told a few people "Oh, that is Windows 10 - I can't help you. I know nothing about it". I am pretty sure they won't get help anywhere else either. When they come back in a few months and ask if I know about Windows 10, I will tell them I use Linux.

    I don't see this working out well for MS.

    1. jonathan1

      Re: I blame the four Norsemen with Paperclips

      I agree,

      Tablets/phones are good enough for a lot of people. Email/Web browsing and social media. Why do you need a computer for home use unless you have a need to do something other than above etc. My mother in law had a laptop, couldn't stand it because she found it too difficult. She recieved an iPad (she has an Android phone too) a couple of Christmases ago and she loves it.

      The second thing, is computer hardware from a performance point of view hasn't dramatically improved over the last five years - Unless you're into 4k. I have a really crappy laptop from 2010 that is able to run windows 10. Imagine trying to put XP or Vista on hardware that was five years old when they came out...

      I remember my early days of the 486...the changes seemed more dramatic back then. It has gotten much more energy efficient though which is good as I;m now older and a bill payer. :o)

      Would it be fair to say computers have reached the washing machine/microwave commodity plateu?

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: I blame the four Norsemen with Paperclips

      On the other hand, I had one user who never got the hang of computers, never managed to install and application and didn't even understand saving documents! (Write 3 pages, print, save, delete the pages, type 3 new pages, print, save, repeat... Where is my document, I saved it! I kid you not! I was just thankful that they printed the pages out before deleting them!!!)

      A switch to Windows 8 was like a breath of fresh air, within 30 minutes they were proudly announcing that they had managed to install an app...

  5. Andy Non

    No more Windows computers for me.

    I had been planning on buying a new Windows PC and making it dual-boot with Linux Mint, retaining the flexibility of using either OS as required, but after the problems I had at the weekend with a Windows 10 update trashing an older dual-boot laptop * I'm now looking at buying a new computer with Linux pre-installed and not Windows.

    * Windows 10 and Linux had been happily cohabiting for several weeks with a choice of OS at bootup until an automatic Windows 10 update deleted the dual-boot, reinstated all the UEFI stuff and made the computer Windows 10 bootup only, effectively destroying the Linux bootup.

  6. itguy

    The opposite view

    Ok going to duck when I say this but I'm a Windows 10 "fan".

    We provide cloud apps to small business and always get asked to look at laptops and wifi (just because we're IT people). We've updated many laptops from Win 7 to Windows 10 and it's been very well received and have had little or no issues. Windows 8 was a mess and users hated it but 10 is an easier step up from a die hard Win 7 user.

    I do see a divide though - It may well be that in the not so distant future, home users won't use PC's (windows or Apple) at all. All most of them need is a tablet because for a lot of them, the most typing they do is entering a url or the odd 2 line email.

    For business users I do see Windows 10 as a huge improvement over 8 and (ducking again), a worthy successor to windows 7.

    there. I said it.

    1. BitDr

      Re: The opposite view

      Privacy concerns rule out win 10, UBuntu, and Chrome. Also rules out win 7,8, & 8.1 if they've been infected with KB3075249 and KB3080149.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: buying a new computer with Linux pre-installed

    That's easier said than done unless you are willing to pay a premium and wait for delivery.

    At the moment its cheaper to buy stagnant Win8 stock [off-the shelf] which can then upgraded with a SSD and Linux [Mint in my case].

    It really is time for the manufacturers and retailers to grow some balls and dump the Redmond Tax.

    If they don't adapt then they are are following WordStar and WordPerfect down the road to oblivion

    i.e. Redmond seems willing to sacrifice its faithful manufacturers and retailers.

    Same can be said for software developers because I would happily pay for a Linux version of Fireworks if it were available... Linux is a free platform but the software doesn't have to be free...

    Same can be said for the consumers... they need to migrate away from Redmond if they like Personal Computing and want to keep control of their personal computer.

    The rules have changed - adapt or die [a long, lingering death]

    1. Andy Non

      Re: buying a new computer with Linux pre-installed

      I'm currently considering one of the mini desktop computers in this range:

      Seems like a nice bit of kit, but not made up my mind yet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: buying a new computer with Linux pre-installed


      I asked for pre-installed Linux on the machine I am now using, but found it was cheaper with Windows pre-installed and then install Linux myself. This counted as a Windows sale, but I have never used Windows after the first day when I was checking about what Linux to install.

      1. Andy Non

        Re: buying a new computer with Linux pre-installed

        I agree it is potentially a good cost saving strategy, buying a common off the shelf Windows 8.1/10 computer with the intention of overwriting it with Linux on day one; but this strategy may become more and more of a gamble, depending on which manufacturers and models impose (or already have imposed) the locked down secure boot features; effectively making the hardware Windows only or problematic under Linux. Manufacturers don't go out of their way to advertise that their models are Linux compatible (or not). There is also a gamble that relevant drivers for Linux may not be available for newer hardware models. At least by buying one with Linux (probably Ubuntu) pre-installed I will be confident Linux Mint can be installed on it.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge

    ... because Windows 10

    Acer said that people were waiting to buy Windows 10 computers, now there's a slump because of Windows 10.

    If you want to buy a PC and you're not specifically looking for another OS then it comes with Windows. Nobody's changing their buying habits because of Windows, nobody's waiting to buy a computer with Windows 10 and nobody's rushing out to get one either once they've found one. They're not selling because people have already got a computer.

  9. Jim 59

    Win 10 ? Doesn't it send all you base to redmond?

  10. ntevanza


    Half of consumers intend to buy a PC (not a tablet) in the next year? I checked their press release to see whether this astonishing prediction was qualified in any way (left handed consumers, or consumers who hate pie). It is not.

    Bless 'em.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have the intention of purchasing a Ferrari next year.

    Right after I win the big one in the lottery.

    Who would buy the report if it said "PC sales are crap and they will be even worse next year"

  12. Kristian Walsh

    Device expected life has increased, thus replacement sales decrease

    PC sales are falling because the market is nearly saturated (and has been for a very long time), and modern PCs are usable for longer. I'm developing software on a machine I built 6 years ago for a few hundred quid. When I replace the HD that Windows is on with an SSD, I'll get another year or two of productivity out of it (for heavy compilation, SSD is better than any increase of RAM or CPU cycles)

    I'm typing this on a 2011 MacBook Air, which I can't see myself still owning in a year from now, but that's also an impressive five year working life.

    The days when PC sales would cycle every three years are gone forever: if the demands of users aren't increasing beyond the hardware's ability, there's no need for new hardware. Only gamers are getting cramped these days.

    The tablet market is seeing the same phenomenon too. Take Apple, as the tablet market leader. Its sales in tablets are slumping too, because once they got past the first couple of iPad revisions, an iPad's usable life is well into three or four years: these things aren't used for demanding tasks, so the pressure to upgrade just isn't there.

    Frankly, if US phone companies didn't force customers to buy a new handset every two years, you'd see mobile sales relaxing too - a high-end phone from 2011 is still pretty capable of doing what most people want from a phone; it's only the pressure to "not waste an upgrade" that makes customers buy again. (In Finland, where there are no subsidies, I remember reading that the average user change cycle is about four years. In the USA, it's just a little over two - the normal length of a service contract)

    1. Arctic fox

      @Kristian Walsh RE:"you'd see mobile sales relaxing too "

      Indeed, I agree. The analogue IMO is what happened when MS launched Win 7. For the first time they issued an OS that did not automatically mandate a hardware upgrade (as long as your existing box was decent - not cutting edge). This has been the case since. As far tablets are concerned the limit on upgrade pressure is what these devices are typically used for - light browsing, e-mails etc. The result is of course that tablet that are not absolute crap remain usable for a several years. We are now beginning to reach the same point with mobile phones, especially those from the mid-range and upwards. The situation within the mobile market in the US (as you point out) is somewhat "special". IE. (In my opinion) the near cartel conditions in that area in the US, although there are some indications that this may begin to change. I have the feeling that the tech market is going to have to accommodate some considerable shocks in the not too distant future when the mass market element of it slows down right across the board.

  13. Fungus Bob

    Windows 10 didn't prevent me from buying a new PC in Q3

    Bought a NUC and stuck Linux on it.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Windows 10 didn't prevent me from buying a new PC in Q3

      NUC? Can you elaborate please. I'm in the market for a new PC to put Linux on.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Windows 10 didn't prevent me from buying a new PC in Q3

        NUC? Can you elaborate please. I'm in the market for a new PC to put Linux on.

        Intel's Next Unit of Computing, aka small form-factor PC.

        (obRadioTimesDisclaimer: other small form-factor PCs and brands are available)

        Comes with anything from a Celeron to a Core i7, depending on which one you choose. You can get it as a near-complete system (add your own RAM + WiFi + SSD) or just get the bare board and use a 3rd party case, which potentially adds space for extra drives etc. The system kit comes with a VESA wall-mount bracket.

        We have been using Mint on the i5MYHE - it's an i5-based one with vPro/AMT support.

        Just be careful on the RAM; many of the NUC variants need 1.35V low-voltage DDR3L SODIMMS, rather than the more-common 1.5V DDR3-non-L.

        Another SFF system to consider is the Gigabyte Brix family, but in my experience the cooling solution on those is noisy as hell when under load (4770R).

        LMK if you need more info.

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