back to article Should leaders place bets on new PCs or generative AI?

PCs were once the hottest tech item of the pandemic, yet these days most of the big brands are still struggling to find new homes for their aging inventory that isn’t a shelf in a distributor or retailer’s warehouse. And so it continued in calendar Q2 when worldwide shipments of computers sold into the channel shrank 13.4 …

  1. 43300 Silver badge

    Many companies bought loads of computers (especially laptops) in 2020 and 2021. Therefore it's hardly surprising that there is now a slump in sales as none of these devices are due for replacement yet.

    I'm really not sure what "AI" - a solution looking for a problem to address, in many industries - has to do with it - users are still going to need client devices, whatever they are using them for, and the over-hyped AI isn't going to suddenly require a radically different type of device!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      And with all the layoffs many businesses now have more laptops than people to use them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Next bubble

      AI - the next (financial) bubble.

      Still waiting for the rise of the robots, whilst suffering queues to get to the monkey riding the self-checklist lane in Target, Tops, Shoprite, Tesco, Asda etc.

      Unexpected Bullshit in the Tech Bubble Area.

  2. pdh

    AI is certainly something that most companies will want to keep an eye on, in case it ever evolves into something useful. But I really doubt that many companies are planning large-scale production projects based on LLM's or generative AI.

    1. xyz Silver badge

      AI.. Not here yet remember is like an apprentice that you know/hope will be better than you (if you train it properly). How many people have the bollox for that? There will be a "hiccup". On the other hand HP et al are like cocroaches or tartigrades; they always survive.

      1. t245t

        @xyz: AI.. Not here yet remember is like an apprentice that you know/hope


  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Bring it on

    It might mean I can get a new laptop at a sensible price.

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    Apple benefited from ... when supply chains in China shut down?

    The entire PC industry is in China, at least as far as big players like Dell and HP go (i.e. Toshiba and LG were probably in better shape) so if Apple's numbers a year ago were limited by this and this have a more favorable compare today, shouldn't the same be true of most of the PC OEMs? I wasn't aware all the zero covid shutdowns in China only affected Apple lol

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Apple benefited from ... when supply chains in China shut down?

      Exactly my approach.

  5. Tron Silver badge

    AI is not relevant to this.

    Was it included to sex up a report on computer purchasing habits?

    People doing real work will use PCs and laptops.

    Ordinary people are being bullied into using smartphones by the state. Personally I'd be happier if I could arrive at a station, buy a ticket with cash and hop on a train. When they end that, I just won't bother any more.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: AI is not relevant to this.

      Supermarkets are at it too on the cash-elimination drive - 'card only' checkouts mixed in with the others, but most or all of the checkouts will be closed anyway so you'll be pushed into using the self-service machines which don't take cash.

      Clearly even that isn't getting them enough data, so at least one of the big supermarkets has made all it's BOGOF, 3 for 2, meal deal, etc, offers only available to people with their loyalty card (which also seems to be available on a phone app - useful data nexus there!). Fuck 'em - I try to use that supermarket as little as possible now!

  6. Howard Sway Silver badge

    most of the big brands are still struggling to find new homes for their aging inventory

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for them? If people aren't buying at that price, you need to reduce the price until they do. Simple market rules.

    If you don't want to reduce the price because you still feel entitled to your old profit margins, and end up getting stuck with ever less valuable stock, tough shit.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But why are new corporate laptop sales really on ice?

    Our last refresh was 2018 and complete overkill. Overkill is key - it can save money in the long term. The batteries got hammered and we’re replacing them. Some of the SSDs are seriously hammered. Cheap enough to replace. Fact is, we got to a point of sufficiency a few years back. Anything with a quad core i7, minimum 16GB and enough SSD is still very sufficient today for most peeps/tasks.

  8. Kev99 Silver badge

    Maybe the change in sales is management realising there's no need for the latest & greatest that give minimal to non-existent improvements in performance.

  9. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    These "leaders" getting all excited about AI are presumably the same "leaders" who were getting all excited about cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens a couple of years ago.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Should leaders compare apples and oranges?

    Fixed the headline.

    The last three paragraphs with the quote from the analyst said absolutely nothing, but threw a bit of AI in there because everyone else is.

  11. martinusher Silver badge

    Sales of PCs are dropping?

    They'll go through cycles, of course and we're obviously in a down cycle. Nothing much to see here, folks.

    BUT -- Modern PCs are a problem. Its not the PC as such but the software. Using the mantra 'security / user experience' vendors are shipping systems that are all but unusable out of the box for anything except running a relatively limited set of vendor supplied applications. (You're allowed some DiY but preferably inside a vendor supplied development environment using vendor supplied tools etc.) This combined with cloud applications that render the PC a glorified terminal means you don't have much of an incentive to upgrade -- you've got systems that work adequately so why bother spending money to have to deal with the headaches of taming whatever the latest and greatest is?

    As for AI. its just trendy noise. The toolset's useful but its nothing to do with needing a new PC.

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