amny Credit: GETTY

Recent results from the likes of Intel, AMD and Hewlett-Packard would indicate that this may be the case.

Even accounting for the expected slowdown lull before the release of Microsoft Windows 8, over the last few quarters, the industry significantly underperformed relative to expectations.

Why is this?

Well, plain old-fashioned maturity accounts for a big part of it. When I was a kid in the 1980's, owning a computer was a big deal because they were so expensive.

But times have changed, and because of falling prices, just about everyone has one, the same way just about everyone has a refrigerator and toaster. That means there aren't a whole lot of new computer buyers.

The PC isn't dying, but the thrill is gone; it's now just another unexciting household appliance.

But where is the excitement going?

Mobile seems to be the answer. Many people look at a smartphone as a straightforward piece of technology -- software running on silicon.

Not to me. The modern smartphone is the most effective over-the-counter drug ever conceived -- it's legal, it's expensive, and addictive.

On Wednesday morning, when I was taking the N train to work, I saw a full row of six people, every one of them playing on their phones.

If you look around, I'm sure you'll see similar scenes.

These days, people seem to be unable to sit for a minute without breaking out their smartphones, and that's something that wasn't true just 10 years ago.

The smartphone is now the one indispensable consumer gadget. To the modern shopper, everything else is secondary, including PC's.

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