A personal computer or PC is a multi-purpose computer whose size and capability are designed for an individual user. Without the need to be operated by a computer expert or technician, these devices are intended to be operated directly by the end user. The term PC was first applied as early as 1972 to the Xerox PARC's Alto, but this later developed to specifically mean a desktop microcomputer compatible with IBM's PC products. Such was the influence of IBM that only Apple Macintosh (Mac) products were able to compete for a share of the microcomputer market after the 1980s, without compatibility to the IBM PC.
As the production and manufacturing costs of devices like PCs have lowered, this has enabled companies to produce high-end products for lower selling prices, making the devices accessible to more customers. In 2020, spending on devices, including PCs, is expected to reach 688 billion U.S. dollars globally, whilst overall IT spending is expected to reach 3.87 trillion U.S. dollars, with both therefore experiencing growth from 2019. However, when looking solely at PC shipments, 2020 forecasts anticipate 248 million units to be shipped, a decline of seven percent. The reduction has been attributed in part to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which is expected to impact the production and shipment of such technology products.
PCs come in several varieties, including stationary products like workstations and desktops, as well as portable products like laptops, notebooks, netbooks and tablets. In 2022, it is forecast that 165 million units of notebooks and mobile workstations are to be shipped worldwide, whilst tablet shipments will exceed 134 million units in the same year. As well as differences between the hardware available, the operating systems on the devices similarly varies, with Microsoft’s Windows the most widely used computer operating system in the world accounting for over 70 percent of the market. For desktop PCs alone, Microsoft’s control is closer to 80 percent of the market.
The overall market leader in the global PC hardware market in 2019 was Lenovo with a market share of 24.1 percent, with Hewlett Packard (HP) a close second with a 22.2 percent share. In terms of unit sales, Lenovo had almost 63 million shipments, while HP had around 58 million shipments. PC vendors are faced with the challenge to adapt to the changing market and stay relevant with new products and services. HP have had a focus on using premium materials, introduced privacy technologies built into each PC unit, and found success in laptops that convert to tablet computers. Others, such as Dell Technologies, shifted their attention to cloud service and storage solutions, moving away from mainly manufacturing computer hardware to providing software and service solutions.
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In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 41 most important statistics relating to "PCs".