The PC industry is contending with a major slowdown as it comes off of the wild pandemic-driven growth that made everything from laptops to mice hard to find. Shipments of PCs fell a whopping 28% year-over-year in Q4, according to Gartner, and the market likely won’t return to growth for some time.
But Microsoft (MSFT) and its PC manufacturing partners are pushing forward regardless of the downturn, rolling out a slew of new features and capabilities that they believe will draw in consumers ranging from the average person to hardcore gamers.
“In the current climate, customers are being thoughtful about purchase decisions, and that’s true for PCs as well,” Microsoft chief partner officer and CVP for global partner solutions Nicole Dezen told Yahoo Finance. “Our partners are focused on building the right PCs, with the right features and value for the price point.”
Throughout 2023, PC makers are debuting everything from systems with new AI chips to high-powered gaming rigs. During CES 2023 in Las Vegas, chip makers Intel (INTC), Nvidia (NVDA), and AMD (AMD) each debuted new offerings, including what Intel says is the “fastest mobile chip in the world,” Nvidia’s high-end RTX 4090 mobile graphics chip and AMD’s Ryzen 7045HX processor.
Part of the pitch for PCs in 2023 comes in the form of new AI capabilities that companies say will improve things like video chat quality over computers without AI features.
“Partners are integrating AI chips and workloads into their Windows PCs for improved customer experiences in areas like gaming, video conferencing and computer augmentation,” Dezen explained.
It’s not just AI and high-powered processors, though. Dezen says that her customers regard security as a top priority for their systems.
Getting consumers and businesses to purchase new PCs in 2023, however, will be a tall order regardless of how many new features PC makers offer.
“The anticipation of a global recession, increased inflation, and higher interest rates have had a major impact on PC demand,” Mikako Kitagawa, director analyst at Gartner said in a statement.
“Since many consumers already have relatively new PCs that were purchased during the pandemic, a lack of affordability is superseding any motivation to buy, causing consumer PC demand to drop to its lowest level in years.”
We’ll just have to see if Microsoft and its partners can overcome the collapse in demand, and help pull the PC market back to growth.
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