Computer Sales See Worst Drop Ever

Laptop, desktop shipments drop 14% in Q1 versus year earlier

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2013 5:54 AM CDT | Updated Apr 11, 2013 7:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – Looks like Windows 8 is doing little to reboot the market when it comes to laptops and desktops. Global shipments of the machines plummeted 14% in Q1 compared to the year prior, analysts at IDC say, marking the largest drop since its tracking began in 1994. The figures have been cruising downward for four quarters, the firm says. Research rival Gartner saw a slightly smaller drop of 11.2%—still the biggest it has seen since 2001, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The interesting question is how much of this is a structural shift toward slower replacement cycles and more tablets versus how much is people disliking Windows 8," writes Matthew Yglesias at Slate. "The reaction to Windows 8 is real," says an analyst with IDC, which actually assigns some of the slowdown blame to the OS, whose features it describes as confusing to consumers familiar with the traditional PC experience. Further, businesses aren't scrambling to upgrade, he notes. A Gartner analyst, however, believes Windows 8 is "the right direction," and just needs time. Outside the Windows world, analysts had contradictory numbers: Apple's domestic shipments sank 7.5%, according to IDC; Gartner says they climbed 7.4%. (In related news, the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is working on a 7-inch Surface tablet to compete with the iPad Mini and Google's 7-inch Nexus.)

Desktop computers are on display at Best Buy in Mountain View, Calif.
Desktop computers are on display at Best Buy in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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