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Best Buy CEO: Post-PC era ending, tablet sales 'crashing'

updated 02:46 pm EDT, Wed July 30, 2014

Struggling chain attempting to reinvent itself to survive the modern market

In an interview, electronics retailer Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly believes that the day of the tablet may already be over. Citing observations at his stores, the CEO claims that the company has "actually had a revival of the PC business at Best Buy," giving credit to Microsoft for discontinuation of Windows XP, and to Apple for continuing to innovate for consumers.

Joly says in an interview with Recode that "the tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months" and claims that "the laptop has had something of a revival because it's becoming more versatile." He points to the advent of convertible two-in-one devices, which can function as both tablet and laptop, as a watershed point in the migration back to computers

Referring to the decline that he is seeing in the tablet market, Joly said that "once you have a tablet of a certain generation, it's not clear that you have to move on to the next generation." Apple CEO Tim Cook made similar remarks in his last quarterly earnings conference call, in which he reconciled the issue of lower-than-expected iPad sales. However, with the US and Canadian market driven by Apple's iPad, Joly may just be misinterpreting data from this point in the market cycle.

The CEO lauds Apple for the way it "continues to do interesting things," saying that in the chain's "Mac sales have actually done quite well." However, deflation in the Windows market has been the primary problem with the PC industry before its apparent rebirth last quarter at Best Buy.

"So you now find laptops at $300 that used to cost $1,000" Joly notes, adding that "if there's more innovation at the high end of Windows, then you can have a revival."

Recode criticized the CEO for having "rented out" the chain to Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung. The CEO denies this as a problem, and says that the store-within-a-store concept gives consumers the opportunity to learn about "these giant ecosystems: the Apple world, the Android/Samsung world, the Windows world" in half an hour.

Best Buy could be called beleaguered. The company has been fighting industry trends for years, with consumers "show-rooming," or evaluating products in its stores for purchase elsewhere. When asked about the future of the company in light of the competition, Joly believes that "we'll be around in 50 years. We have a unique role to play for customers."

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-20-01

    Wait, let me fix that headline:

    "BestBuy era ending, sales crashing". That's more like it.

    And again, MacNN excels today with fantastic understatement: "Best Buy could be called beleaguered." :)

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    The post-PC era is just beginning. This guy is panicking.

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    Anyone who has ever tried to test out and purchase a tablet at Best Buy knows why their tablet sales are terrible. As the world's least competent tablet retailer, comments from the Best Buy CEO are less than irrelevant.

  1. Steve Wilkinson

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-19-01

    And that is why he's the CEO of a "struggling chain."

  1. Rapscallion

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-12-04

    Tablet sales aren't crashing, its brand freaking new, the craze part is coming to an end where everyone finally has one. They last quite a bit, it'll take time for the trade in/upgrade cycle to even out. I miss the old best buy.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Apple has made noises to the effect that future iPads (maybe not this next one, we'll have to see) will be compelling enough to drive a new upgrade cycle. But Rapscallion is right, analysts think the iPad has the same cycle as the iPhone, and it just doesn't.

  1. thebiggfrogg

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-06-07

    Agree with the upgrade cycle comment. I've got an iPad 2 with a Logitech ultra thin keyboard, which is still going strong for my uses (use it extensively as a teacher for content creation and as a presentation tool in a university setting, as well as an e-reader). A bit sluggish with 7.1, but still doable. For now I can get by with what I have though in a year or two I will probably be looking to step up once this gets a little longer in the tooth and the iPad upgrades get more compelling--with a helpful twist of my wife's arm, that is. ; )

  1. Steve Wilkinson

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-19-01

    @ chas_m - the problem there is, 'analysts think...' If I had a dime for every time an 'industry expert' or 'analyst' predicted something really dumb... :)

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