Lack of user interest in Microsoft Corp.’s touch-enhanced Windows 8 operating system and the growing popularity of tablet devices are among several factors responsible for the decline in personal computer sales in 2012, according to analyst firm International Data Corp.
Global shipment of PCs totaled 89.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, down by 6.4 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2011, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. Despite intense efforts by the industry overall worldwide market for desktops and laptops in 2012 shrunk 3.7 per cent compared to the previous year.
PC shipment sin Canada, the United States, Western Europe and Japan fell by four per cent, while sales in the Asia-Pacific region, latin America, Middle East and Africa, slid by 1.4 per cent.
“With limited initial traction form Windows 8 in the holiday season and continued pressure from tablets, IDC now expects 2013 PC shipments to decline by 1.3 per cent in 2013,” the IDC report said.
Public reception of Windows 8, which Microsoft launched in October 2012, was characterized as “underwhelming” by IDC.
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It said the PC industry had banked on Windows 8 and less expensive ultrathin notebooks to revive PC demand.
However, a lack of touch screen components led to limited supplies of Windows 8 computers. This resulted in many non-touch units loaded with Windows 8 to appear out of step with the new OS.
The analyst firm also blamed tight IT budgets in and the continuing slow economic progress for the lackluster PC sales.
“The PC market is still looking for updated models to gain traction and demonstrate sufficient appeal to drive growth in a very expensive market,” said Loren Loverde, program VP for Worldwide PC Trackers at IDC. “Growth in emerging regions has slowed considerably and we continue to see constrained PC demand as buyers favour other devices for their mobility and convenience features.”
Loverde, however, does not see tablets as “functional competitors” of PC because of their limited local storage and file systems as well as a lack of focus on traditional office productivity functions.