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PC sales down 14 per cent, as Windows 8 'slows the market'

Figures from the International Data Corporation say the latest edition of Microsoft Windows is turning people off buying PCs.

New industry figures show people dumping PCs in favour for tablets and other devices.
New industry figures show people dumping PCs in favour for tablets and other devices.
Image: Biehler Michael via Shutterstock

POOR CONSUMER REACTION to the new version of Microsoft Windows, and the continued popularity of tablet computers, have seen worldwide sales of PCs fall significantly in the last year.

Figures published overnight by the International Data Corporation have shown that PC sales in the first quarter of 2013 were 13.9 per cent lower than the same quarter in 2012. That decline is nearly double the 7.7 per cent fall that IDC had predicted.

The year-on-year fall is the worst since figures were first recorded in 1994.

“PC industry efforts to offer touch capabilities and ultraslim systems have been hampered by traditional barriers of price and component supply, as well as a weak reception for Windows 8,” IDC said.

IDC’s vice-president Bob O’Donnell theorised that Windows 8 had not only failed to provide a boost to PC sales, but instead had actually slowed them down.

“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,” he said, citing the disappearance of the familiar ‘Start’ button and the costs of developing touchscreen facilities.

“Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market,” he said, adding that recent restructuring at major manufacturers like HP and Dell had also taken its toll on sales.

Vendors in Europe and the Middle East had been reluctant to bring in stock of Windows 8 machines because of the slow market response to the new operating system, it said.

Is the era of the desktop PC over – or is the fall in sales simply the result of people choosing alternative machines like iMacs? Let us know in the comments.

Read: EU finance chiefs to get tablet PCs for ‘paperless’ Dublin summit

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Gavan Reilly

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