38 minutes ago,elmer wrote
The point is that consumers are enamoured with tablets and are not buying PCs.
That's obviously a blanket statement, but is the trend nevertheless. Whether its iPad, Android or Win8 is almost irrelevent, Win8 PCs will not be a big hit with consumers because PCs have lost their appeal to consumers, and they will be unlikely to feel the need for upgrading the O/S on existing PC equipment.
Win8 sales will be focussed on new tablets and new business PCs. How successful the former is, remains to be seen, but Win8 on consumer PCs, I see as being a "niche" market rather than the mainstream.
Apple is touting this decade as being "post-PC". That isn't saying the PC is going away, actually quite the contrary. It means that PCs (as we know them) are now so fully entrenched there is no point in competing or trying to innovate in that area. Everything that's worth trying has been done already, all that's left is evolutionary changes, and there's no hope for making healthy profit margins. Their "post-PC" strategy revolves around ensuring their "pillar" products (i.e. iPhone, iPod, and iPad) work independently of a PC. Why tie yourself to a stagnating platform?
PCs running Windows are now the "white goods" of modern society. I don't think it's a huge stretch to buy a reasonably well specc'd computer and expect to get a good 7 to 8 years working life out of it (compare to 15 years ago where a system was obsolete after 4 years). PC performance has hit a plateau and the law of diminishing returns strikes again (e.g. 2011's Crysis 2 looks no better than 2007's Crysis).
So the PC is not going away, it's not obsolete, it's just boring.
As an appendictical remark, I'll state that my first computer, a 1996 Dell, was obsolete by 2000, barely capable of playing the latest games, even with the fastest add-on 3D accelerator card and hitting the 64MB RAM limit imposed by its BIOS. By 2002 it was certifiably useless for any and all computing tasks, even Office 2000 ran like a dog on it. Compare to the computer bought new in 2002, a Pentium 4 machine that served as a good workhorse, but even with maximum RAM the single-core processor and slow RAM just can't keep up with modern web-browsers (that said, Chrome is soooooo much faster than IE8). So that's 8 useful years had out of it. Finally there's my current desktop, now almost three years old, that still tops the benchmark programs, by my projection it should remain useful for at least another 10 years assuming bi-annual RAM and tri-annual GPU upgrades.
Interesting thought: when I was in secondary school in 1999, they had an IT classroom still filled with Windows 3.0 machines dating from 1991. They were only 8 years old, but sure felt considerably older. Now in 2011, seeing an 8 year-old machine (i.e. from 2003) running Windows XP doesn't seem so outworldly at all, the machines have aged well and are still more than capable of running the latest versions of Office.