The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Most of today’s genealogists use some sort of computer program to keep track of the information found during their searches. Popular programs include RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Builder, Reunion, Family Historian, AncestralQuest, Family Tree Maker, Heredis, Mac Family Tree, and quite a few others. They all have one thing in common: they are all becoming obsolete.
To be sure, obsolescence won’t happen overnight. Even so, if you use any of these Windows or Macintosh programs, you might start thinking about your future plans for these programs.
NOTE #1: Windows computers are usually referred to as “personal computers,” or PCs. In fact, Macintosh computers are also personal computers and are also qualify for the term “personal computers” or PCs. In this article, I will use the term “PC” to refer equally to both Windows and Macintosh desktop and laptop systems.
The PC industry is now losing money. After about three decades of spectacular growth, sales of PCs are now decreasing every year. Market research outfit IDC recently updated their estimates, and they now project a drop of nearly 5 percent in PC sales this year. The company earlier had a forecast of a 3.3 percent decline. PC manufacturers, including Dell, Lenovo, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Asus, Acer, and others are all reporting decreasing sales.
The numbers reflect the number of PCs sold. However, when examining profits, the numbers are even worse. Not only is the number of PCs being sold decreasing, but the total profits are dropping even faster. Today’s PCs are cheaper than ever, resulting in less and less profit per computer sold. The combination of fewer computers being sold plus lower profit per computer is “double trouble” and is worrying the executives of almost every computer manufacturer.
Companies that produce software—including those that produce genealogy software—are also concerned about their futures. Sales of Windows and Macintosh software of all sorts are decreasing every year.
For company executives who are able to see the future, however, the outlook is certainly not gloomy. While PC sales are decreasing rapidly, sales of mobile devices are shooting up like a rocket. The hardware and software firms who can adjust to the new marketplace demands probably can remain profitable for at least another decade and probably even longer.
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