LONDON – Worldwide PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, down 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012, according to market research firm International Data Corp. The year-on-year contraction marked the worst decline since IDC began tracking the PC market in 1994 and also marked a fourth consecutive quarter of year-on-year shipment declines, the company said.
The PC industry's attempts to adopt touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by a weak reception for Windows 8, the firm said. Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is putting significant numbers of people off buying personal computers and making them more likely to turn to tablet computers, the firm said.
"At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," said Bob O'Donnell, vice president of clients and displays at IDC, in a statement. "While some consumers appreciate the new form factors and touch capabilities of Windows 8, the radical changes to the UI [user interface], removal of the familiar Start button, and the costs associated with touch have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices."
David Daoud, research director for personal computing at IDC, said the size of the reduction in PC shipments was "surprising and worrisome."
The U.S market fell to 14.2 million PCs in 1Q13, down 12.7 percent year-on-year and down 18.3 percent compared to 4Q12. The quarterly shipment number is the lowest since the first quarter of 2006, IDC said.
Most of the major PC vendors fared dismally. Two exceptions were Lenovo and Apple. In the United States, Lenovo outperformed the market with double digit year-on-year growth compared to the market's double-digit contraction. Shipments in Asia/Pacific declined, however, keeping Lenovo's overall growth flat. Apple fared better than the overall U.S. market, but still saw shipments decline as its own PCs also saw competition from iPad tablet computers.
Microsoft HAS to get into the tablet and smartphone market if they want to survive long term. They need to find a way to do this without alienating their current customer base. When I last checked, MS still had a monster pile of cash. The absolutely have to buy their way into this market. It is very worrying that their execution has been so poor up to this point. There is no reason for MS to fail at making an OS for tablets. Making operating systems for mass market computers has been their bread and butter for thirty years. Tablets and phones are not that different from PCs, just a bit smaller and simpler with a touch screen. Why was Surface so late? Why are the prices so high? Why is the performance so poor? Why can't they build a developer community? Maybe there needs to be some kind a major management purge at Microsoft.
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