Sergey Nivens - Fotolia

Time for the PC doom mongers to zip it

Talk about the PC dying is something that the hardware industry has heard enough of and it seems that it is no longer an applicable statement to a market that is alive and well

Tape has been dying for the last two decades, by now most offices should have been paperless and over the past ten years the death rites have been read several times for the PC.

Yet the channel enters a fourth quarter with decent sales of PCs in the enterprise market and the big players in the hardware world are talking of sales not just for the next few months but for years ahead.

The PC is back was one of the messages coming out loud and clear from the Canalys Channels Forum with the analyst firm's president and CEO Steve Brazier leading the charge.

"Hardware is not dead," he added "Don't listen to your investors who tell you to get out of hardware and only go to services. There's no evidence to support that at all," he said.

He was supported by Dell, HP and Lenovo, who are all locked in a battle to gain market share and happy to bang the drum over a future for PCs.

Marco Andresen, chief operating officer and vice president of channels at Lenovo, said that most corporate customers still used PCs and that situation would not change anytime soon.

"Everyone is still using it. There is no sign that this is going to end. The PC is definitely alive," he said.

The ball is increasingly in the hardware vendor's court as they find the Windows 10 upgrade effect wears off as a reason for users to buy.

Refresh cycles have extended making it harder for the channel to get users to part with their cash and more emphasis is being put into design and extending battery life.

Next year should see batteries that allow laptops to be on for a few days before the juice runs dry, which the industry is hoping will be a reason for users to upgrade.

"The reasons to change today are different. There is a big push on light and thin products and battery life is a big thing and will be much bigger going forward," he added.

When the refresh cycles do come through it can spell a positive spell of sales and there are some expectations that the consumer space is close to entering one of the phases.

"We foresee that the consumer market is going to be a little. It healthier. People bought their PC about five or six years ago and that is going to change," said Andresen.

Over at HP the same emphasis has been put on making products appeal with slick design but there are also attempts to come with a different model.

The vendor has been pushing its Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) model trying to get partners and customers interested in the offering. 

Dion Weisler, CEO of HP, said that there was a natural move from transactional services to paying for hardware on a services basis.

"Our job is to prepare our market, more than 250,000 channel partners," he added  "We have a broad spectrum of partners who are at various levels of maturity in that thinking. For us it is a question of when that happens, not if."

Regardless of the approach the assumption at the heart of the plans being made by the large hardware vendors is that customers will continue to use their products.

It might be easy to label the PC as a dying category but as those selling tape have found out to their benefit if the customer still wants to use the technology then it will sell. There are plenty of customers happy to continue to use desktops and laptops with no sign of that changing anytime soon.

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