PC Shipments Stagnate Ahead of Windows 8 Launch, IDC Says

Paul Lilly

With Microsoft getting ready to launch its next generation operating system (OS), buyers and vendors appear stuck in a holding pattern staring at soon-to-be dated inventory. As a result, analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC) lowered their outlook on the market and now predict the PC shipments will grow just 0.9 percent in 2012. That's actually up slightly compared to one year ago, though it's the second consecutive year of sub-2 percent growth, IDC says.

IDC's analysis is reflected in disappointing quarters by major OEMs like Hewlett-Packard and Dell , the latter of which noted it's been "challenging" trying to grow a PC business lately, the same word IDC used to describe the current environment.

"The U.S. market will remain depressed until Windows 8 products hit the shelves in the fourth quarter of 2012. The industry is responding by reducing shipments of PCs and clearing Windows 7-based inventories to pave the way for a new generation of systems. But, as we move into the tail end of the third quarter, PC activity will continue to slow as demand drops. The third-quarter back to school season is also proving to be a challenging period, despite prices dropping to their lowest levels. We expect the year will end with shipments in the U.S. falling by 3.7 percent, marking the second consecutive year of contraction," said David Daoud , research director, Personal Computing at IDC.

It's not all gloom and doom, however; IDC says Windows 8 coupled with Ultrabooks could present a positive turn of events next year, though that assumes the market will react positively to Microsoft's touch-friendly OS rather than run it out of town like Windows ME, which was only on store shelves a year before XP appeared.

Image Credit: Dell

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