Due to the low demand for high-cost desktops and notebooks due to the crisis, PC sales are in free fall in the United States.
According to the last IDC report for the fourth quarter of 2008, PC sales fell by 17% compared to the previous one – considering the total number of processors sold in the period – and 11.4% compared to the same period 2007. This data is even worse if we disregard the total Intel Atom chips that were sold: ignoring netbook sales, the drop in sales was 21.7% in relation to the third quarter and 21.6% in relation to Christmas 2007.
The sequential drop seen in this latest survey was the worst since 1996, when the consulting firm began monitoring PC chip sales. As demand for high-cost desktops and notebooks fell due to a huge constraint on consumers' purchasing power, Adoption of Windows Vista has plummeted, while netbooks continue to sell at a steady pace many of them running Linux distributions, not the Microsoft system.
Already in the world of Macs, sales appear to remain stable, even without Apple offering a netbook in its line. In fact, it has been resisting the crisis very well, especially after presenting financial results well above that expected by several analysts.
But only one difference is keeping Ma's sales stable: Mac OS X Leopard. If someone decides to consider a Mac as a new computer, they have a lean product line that greatly reduces their choice. And Tim Cook, COO of the company, has already announced that it is doing nothing more than watching how low-cost laptops are reacting to the market.
The same does not happen with the Microsoft side. The drop in PC sales, minimized by the success of netbooks, is making Windows lose space for various Linux distributions on cheaper machines, suited to consumers' purchasing power in times of crisis.
It is still possible to find a netbook with Windows XP, that's a fact. But what about when he leaves the market permanently? Will Windows 7 be able to fill this gap? Does Linux start taking space from the Redmond giant? Apple interested in this sector? I believe that the minimum that large technology companies should do in such a dedicated moment to rethink what consumers want, based on how much they are able to pay for it.