PC sales slump in advance of Windows 8

The PC market is enduring an unprecedented slump. Despite manufacturers slashing prices and offering all sorts of bonus extras, it seems that many of us are holding off on replacing our desktop PCs.

While smartphone and tablet sales remain healthy, it seems that many consumers are waiting for the Windows 8 operating system to launch fully before committing to buying a new PC. Manufacturers have also been concentrating on the tablet market at the expense of the PC, meaning that PCs are looking a little dated.

Ranjit Atwal, a personal computing market analyst for Gartner, told The Guardian that the manufacturers' inertia was reflected in the dearth of consumer interest. "The lack of any type of innovation in the PC space has meant that there's very little reason for somebody to go and buy one," he said. "That has put the PC at the back of the queue."

There is now considerable pressure on Windows 8 to be such an innovative and enticing operating system that consumers are lured back to the PC. "Retailers and distributors are generally hoping that Windows 8 will be the solution," Atwal said.

What must concern some manufacturers is the possibility that the era of the desktop is over. With cloud computing, easy access to WiFi and the versatility of smartphones and tablets, it is apparent that work patterns are changing. Users are no longer chained to their offices or desks. More and more freelance workers are finding that a laptop, an iPhone and a Starbucks WiFi connection are all they need.

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