Biggest PC Fails of 2013

Arguably the biggest tech story of 2013 was the end of the PC juggernaut. Personal computer sales, which were utterly nonexistent in 1973,grew year-over-year for longer than most folks have been alive. The growth in PCs fueled the economies of the 1980s and 1990s and kept the early 2000s from falling into recession.

And then, it was 2013. PC sales dropped, and though you could say that the change had been coming for many years, this was the year when consumers and businesses looked up and realized, not only was there no reason to replace the PC they already had (most of the slack in the market having been taken up in 2012) but there might not ever be a reason to buy another PC.

Smartphones and tablets are truly personal computing devices. They tend to support one user exclusively and are personalized to meet individual needs. They are tactile devices — you interact with them with touch, not through a keyboard and mouse. All things considered, smartphones and tablets are the devices we always wanted anyway. Free of trouble and instantly available, able to be taken anywhere in a pocket or purse.

This blog among others laid a lot of blame on Windows 8, and it was well-deserved: The schizoid hybrid of desktop and touch devices never resonated and these days it seems that Microsoft can’t back away from it fast enough. Unfortunately fast enough wasn’t… fast enough. Windows 8 was the beam of light that illuminated the sinking demand for PCs and the truth is, the traditional PC industry probably won’t ever recover.

In an industry that has seen so many hard times and must be so depressing to work in, Digital Trends has named their five biggest PC fails of the year. Technically Windows 8 came out in 2012 so it’s not on the list. Windows 8.1 takes top honors for failing to go far enough in righting the PC ship, although we feel that’s not terribly fair as Microsoft has also been criticizing for caving to customer pressure instead of standing by its new idiom. In a case like that, new software isn’t going to make anyone happy.

However, they also point out manufacturing fails from former tech giants Acer and Asus, who are rapidly slipping into obscurity after a stunningly brief period of customer awareness. Rather a shame because both companies have been turning out quality product for years, but Acer’s attempt to embrace low-end computing (which has largely been supplanted by tablets) and Asus’ stalwart refusal to inject ANY style into its products seem to have doomed the former Taiwanese Twin Titans.

The article strikes a bitter tone, perhaps the words of a person who once genuinely believed in the PC industry’s ability to impress but now … sees in lurching toward inadequacy on the way to irrelevance. Check it out, it’s a good read.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.