Is the PC dead?

In this Investor Beat: Research firm IDC reports that global shipments of personal computers declined 14% in the first quarter. What does this mean for investors? Also, some stocks making big moves today.

By Motley Fool Investor Beat Apr 11, 2013 5:16PM
Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) fell on Thursday in the wake of a report by IDC that PC sales declined 14% in the first quarter. IDC cited the shift to tablets and smartphones and pointed to a slow start for Windows 8. (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)

What do declining PC sales mean for investors in Microsoft? What does the slowdown mean for Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), and other PC makers? Is the PC dead?  

In our lead story on Investor Beat, our analysts discuss the future of the PC.
Shares of Zumiez (ZUMZ) rose on Thursday after the apparel retailer reported a 19.7% jump in March same-store sales.  Shares of Fortinet (FTNT) fell after the computer-network security maker  reported weaker-than-expected sales and profits. Rite Aid Corp (RAD) registered its first annual profit since 2007 and shares hit a new 52-week high. And shares of Burger King Worldwide (BKW) jumped after the company announced that CEO Bernardo Hees was leaving to take the top spot at H.J. Heinz (HNZ).  

Dismantled computer copyright Thinkstock Images, JupiterimagesIn our Movers and Shakers segment, our analysts discuss some of the market's big movers.
 
And in our final segment, our analysts explain why they're watching J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT) and Wells Fargo (WFC).

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23Comments
Apr 11, 2013 5:37PM
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The speed and quality of PC are much better and can last 5 years or more.

Apr 11, 2013 5:58PM
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You can't do serious work on a phone or tablet.
Apr 11, 2013 6:22PM
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I'm a huge fan of the PC - they are more durable, the screen and keyboard are much bigger and the mouse is much more user friendly.  If you log a ton of hours doing actual work, a PC is the way to go.  When I travel, I take a laptop and hook up a regular mouse and full-sized keyboard to it.  If I used the mousepad and the tiny keyboard, it would take me twice as long to get the same work done.  I couldn't imagine trying to get any serious work accomplished on a notebook or tablet, let alone a phone.
Apr 11, 2013 6:39PM
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The end of the PC is a Myth. It's the best product for doing the most things well. Many of the other products are toy like. When you get down to doing REAL Business, you use a PC.
Apr 11, 2013 6:40PM
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Put all your stuff "in the cloud" so the government can control it and decide what you can do with your stuff. Think I'll keep mine right here on my PC.They'll have to use Bill Gate's backdoor to see what I got.
Apr 11, 2013 5:35PM
Apr 11, 2013 5:38PM
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It's all on Windows 8 shoulders.  Why can't Microsoft get it right anymore?  I love PC's and would use them above a tablet, but it has to have a better operating system then Windows 8.  SURELY, SURELY, SURELY the marketing gurus at Microsoft had to know Windows 8 was a floating turd before they forced it on everyone.
Apr 12, 2013 8:56AM
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anyone who thinks the PC is dead doesn't do any actual "work" on their phone, tablet, or "social networking" sites
Apr 12, 2013 6:15AM
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I love my PC, and my Windows 7 OS.  I also have an Android tablet, which is pretty much....a toy. 
Apr 11, 2013 6:37PM
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Windows 8 is just a way to make something old into something new.  WinXP works fine, so does Win7.  These older OS's do just about everything one needs to do, so why go thru the learning curve again?  I have Ubuntu on one system, XP on another and Win7 on my laptop.  Ubuntu is free, but they keep changing the user interface to keep some programmers happy.  Sometimes new is not necessary--reliability and usability are essential, not the GUI.  Vista was obviously a case of too many cooks, not enough chefs.
Apr 12, 2013 12:20AM
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Still have mine and have found no reason to get rid of it. It still works. I spent two days and four hours in various Stores looking at all the new stuff and well I'll keep my old one and my old phone..
Apr 11, 2013 9:21PM
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Tablets and smart phones are great for viewing content, but not so good at creating it.  I spend much of my time working with Excel, and 8" or even 10" screens just don't cut it.  However, apps designed for personal entertainment and social media work very well on tablets. It wasn't too many years ago that most families shared a single computer. Now it seems that each family member has his or her own tablet and/or smart phone. If they even have a PC, it's probably gathering dust in the corner. The PC will never die, but the ratio of tablets to PCs will continue to grow, probably exponentially.
Apr 11, 2013 7:02PM
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The essential problems of Tablet PC's are:

1. No interfaces/ports for a printer
2. Insufficient internal memory, and inadequate office apps to do much real work.
3. Screen size either too small or, with larger screen, it's rather awkward and a little too heavy.

Forget 2 and 3, and maybe 1, also, if I'm traveling.  A tablet is what I need to travel with--along with a mini keyboard.

Do I never buy another PC?  Maybe not, until I can get 1 and 2 above with a usable screen size into a 1 pound package (battery included)--along with a foldable, or rollable, keyboard that weighs almost nothing. While we're at it--let's make the screen a rollable one, too, 11" x 8.5".  Let's make the internal storage a 128GB SSD and have a USB port/s (at least 2) that takes another 128GB flashdrive (or more).

The motherboard and memory, with case, could be the size of a deck of cards, and weigh a half to 3/4 pound with battery lasting 10 hours.  That's a system/s I'd buy to replace my PC's and laptop and tablet--and maybe my Kindle, too.  About $500 for the package--no more than $750.  If you build it, they, and I, will buy it!.  Who cares if it runs Win7 or Win8 or Ubuntu, so long as I can have Libre Office or Open Office!?!


Apr 11, 2013 6:28PM
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Arbersinger made a comment that "software development leads hardware".  Sorry, it's always been the other way around.  Years and years ago, we used to sell 'hot hardware and a handshake', meaning the software was just a promise down the road.  The PC was out long before Microsoft got a decent, working Windows platform.
Apr 11, 2013 8:31PM
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when Microsoft created windows 98 they hit their pinacle ,it was a small os program with a lot of flexibilty.The only os that came close was xp however it isn't dos based. All in all the pc is here to stay ,for the moment tablets will be in vogue for a year or two.jmho   
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