Buying Them Seems to be P.C. Right Now: More than 1 Billion PCs in Use

By June 25, 2008

Taking notes manually or going to a cafe with a journal seem like acts that are becoming esoteric if not obsolete as more and more people acquire personal computers. On Monday, CNBC wrote that no fewer than 1 billion PCs are now in use. The article did not specify whether by "personal computer" it meant any and all brands of machine or those hosting solely Microsoft desktop systems, but that is a great deal of computers. Moreover, research firm Gartner told CNBC that that number was set to double by 2014. The firm's representatives also explained that while mature markets accounted for 58 percent of this first billion, they would only contribute 30 percent to the


Gartner's research director George Shiffler discussed the reasons PCs and PC use were likely to spread so feverishly in emerging markets in the near-future.

"Rapid penetration in emerging markets is being driven by the explosive expansion of broadband and wireless connectivity," he began.

He added that "the continuing fall in PC average selling prices, and the general realisation [sic] that PCs are an indispensable tool for advancement" were also behind the impending epidemic.

Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that the falling prices and availability of PCs are making the turn-over rate high as well.

Gartner's researchers added that they expected "more than 180 million computers to be replaced this year." Some would be sold to new owners, others would be dismantled and recycled and the last would be sent to landfills.

That last destination can lead directly to environmental problems.

"We estimate," Gartner analyst Meike Escherich said, "some 35 million PCs will be dumped into landfill with little or no regard for their toxic content."

The computer parts languishing in the landfills would release chemicals leaching directly into the surrounding area, all of which could have as yet further complications.

So while the amount of PCs booting may be exciting, the numbers crowding landfills is not, and a solution to the issue will have to come soon…before that alarming 2 billion in 2014.

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