Coronavirus Winners: Netflix, Disney+, Whole Foods Market...and Desktop PCs?

Coronavirus Winners: Netflix, Disney+, Whole Foods Market...and Desktop PCs?

Almost everyone else is losing out economically.


Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, our reliance on computers has never been greater, and one so-called “relic” of the modern tech world’s past is indeed making a comeback.

Desktop PCs have often been an afterthought in recent years, as much of the public has turned their attention to sleeker and powerful laptops, tablets and smartphones. But today, how we work, learn and get health care has changed dramatically under the ubiquitous shelter-in-place directives—and people are once again finding out that PCs are useful.


Undoubtedly, this has become wonderful news for companies that make PC hardware and software.

“Customers are using Windows PCs to stay productive, connect and learn in this time. In fact, over 4 trillion minutes are being spent on Windows 10 a month, a 75% increase year on year,” Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, wrote in a recent blog post.

According to NetMarketShare, data shows that Windows boasts nearly 87% share of the PC operating system. In March, Microsoft announced that it had reached 1 billion active Windows 10 devices.

After Windows, the second most popular PC operating system is Apple’s MacOS, with about 10% market share. For its latest reported quarter in late March, the Mac’s active installed base hit a record high and was expected to further accelerate, Apple’s finance chief Luca Maestri noted during a conference call.

Other large PC companies are seeing increased sales as well. Intel reported a 23% increase in overall revenue—with “PC-centric revenue” swelling by 14%. In the company’s most recent financial release, it said, “Consumers and businesses are relying on PCs for working and learning at home.”

Samsung and AMD are two other companies enjoying higher PC and chip sales. On a year-over-year basis, AMD’s earnings jumped a remarkable 200%, while sales climbed 40%. As for Samsung, it witnessed robust profits in PCs, related components and servers.

“The rapid rise in remote working, online education and streaming services” will increase demand for components like DRAM, the Korean company said.

Social media platforms are also taking note of PCs’ rising popularity. For example, Facebook recently announced two product updates that make it simpler to use several of its most popular services from a desktop computer. Most notably, it made direct messages from Instagram available on the web.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He currently resides in Minneapolis.

Image: Reuters