Where's the Innovation?

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Where's the Innovation?

It's hard to find innovation in the PC business today. The laptops and notebooks on the market these days all look the same. What's worse, their features, including applications and hardware add-ons, do nothing to excite computer buyers these days who seem to be paying closer attention to the latest tablets and smartphones. Innovation appears to be dead in the PC market. That's a major reason why the market is in such trouble.

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Is It Truly a Post-PC Era?

There's a growing debate whether the market has entered the post-PC era. What that means is customers have moved beyond the PC and are now looking for other devices, like tablets, to replace them. Admittedly, it's impossible to say for sure if it's the post-PC era. But it's quite possible that if this trend continues, we'll look back at this time as the beginning of the end for the PC as the dominant force in computing.

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The Vendors Aren't Exciting

What makes anyone want to buy a product from HP, Lenovo or Dell? In a technology industry that's now dominated by excitement and flashiness, old and boring companies like today's PC vendors are quickly ignored. That's a problem. Brands sell products just as well as the devices themselves. There isn't a single brand that's actually exciting customers and making them want to leave the house to buy a product.

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It's impossible to discuss the decline of PCs without mentioning tablets. Devices like Apple's iPad and the Google Nexus 10 are doing a number on PC sales. Recently, NPD DisplaySearch revealed that tablet shipments this year will for the first time outpace notebooks.

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Enterprise Deployment Cycles

There was a time when major companies were replacing PCs at a rapid rate. But with budgets tightening and other products to buy, enterprises are slowing down their replacement cycles. That has resulted in a decline in PC sales that might never be made up if the slower replacement cycles become the rule in the industry.

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Commoditization Is a Huge Issue

When examining one computer with another, consumers and enterprise users will quickly find that they have the same components, run the same software and have the same amount of storage. Commoditization once helped PC vendors generate a profit. Nowadays, commoditization is boring customers and hurting shipments.

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Windows 8

Windows 8's launch last year went off without a hitch. But now months later, it's clear that the operating system just hasn't set the market on fire as Microsoft had hoped. Whether that will change in the coming months remains to be seen. But if it doesn't, Microsoft might just be blamed for the ongoing decline of PCs.

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Ultrabooks Are Too Expensive

Ultrabooks are exciting products that deliver some of the much-needed innovation the PC space needs. However, those products are still quite expensive compared to lightweight notebooks and tablets. Ultrabook vendors are promising lower prices at the end of the year. Until then, don't expect the thin, lightweight computers to take off.

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Desktops Are Dying

Although much of the PC market's focus goes to notebooks, it's important to point out those big, bulky desktop computers. In fact, desktop shipments have been declining for years. Most analysts agree that that trend won't ever turn around. Desktops were once a key component in the PC market's success. Now, they're dragging it down.

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Blame It on the Apple Macs

Apple's Macs are actually starting to hurt PCs. In fact, Apple's MacBook Pro is the world's most popular notebook, beating out Windows models from HP, Dell and even Lenovo. As a whole, Apple's computer shipments can't match those from PC vendors, but people are increasingly warming to the iPhone maker's products. That's bad news for PC vendors.