We talked last month about the problems that popular PC maker, Acer, was having hitting sales forecasts. The main issue seemed to be that the emerging, easy-to-use tablet market has been seriously appealing to consumers who are looking to replace older PCs.

Tablets are extremely portable, and aren’t plagued by previous mobile device flaws like bad battery, poor performance, and small screens. An entry level iPad also costs the same amount as your typical entry level laptop or computer, so affordability isn’t an issue.

The tablet revolution, which has been spearheaded almost single-handidly by Apple’s iPad line, has certainly taken PC makers by surprise. According to the IDC, several major PC brands have seen a drop in sales this year as the iPad 2 continues to flourish around the globe.

In fact, Toshiba is the only company that has posted growth this year out of all of the PC manufacturers. Acer seems to have suffered the biggest drop in sales, as the company saw a drop off of nearly 40% in the first quarter of this year versus 2010.

The struggling PC manufacturer seems be having serious problems adapting to the major shifts in technology the industry has seen over the recent years. Although they do have tablets on the way, the are almost destined to become lost in the ever-growing stack of Android-toting tablets.

Are PC makers going to be forced to take a more Apple-like approach to compete with them head-on? Should they look to design and build both hardware and software in house? I don’t know, but as Apple has proven time and time again, innovation seems to be the key to success in this industry. and everyone else seems to be playing catch up.

What do you think? What will PC makers need to do to compete in a post-PC era?


  • I have no idea, but this is a really interesting question. The PC makers have been able to sit back securely while industries like music, movies, publishing, and television have had to struggle with the various technological revolutions that have made their old business models obsolete – and threatened to do the same to their entire industry.

    Now the PC makers find themselves in the same boat, and don’t seem to have learned anything from all the time they spent laughing at those other folks. Just as Blockbuster didn’t view Netflix as a serious threat until it was far too late and has been playing catch-up via mimicry (of both Netflix and now Red Box) ever since, the PC makers clearly didn’t view smart phones or other mobile devices as a threat for years. Sure, they dabbled in it, but who owns a Dell phone? (Of course, HP is one exception to this rule, and note that they are #3 here.) Now that there are mobile devices that pose a real threat, they’re caught with their pants down because they haven’t spent the past few years preparing like Apple did.

    And interestingly, Apple played a big part in forcing those other industries to change. Even if the record companies agree to drop DRM for Amazon first, they only did it as a bargaining chip for better iTunes prices. And now Apple is doing it to their own industry, but as an adversary rather than a retail partner. I would definitely be worried if I were any of these companies, and I would most definitely NOT be trying the usual “playing catch-up” game as a response. Look how well it’s going for Blockbuster and newspapers.