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Analysts warn of falling PC sales

10 Oct 2012
A Desktop PC

For the first time in more than a decade, year-on-year sales of PCs are expected to fall.

Research firm IHS said that its industry projections have the PC market as a whole dropping by 1.2 per cent in 2012. The projections fall in line with warnings PC makers themselves have issued on financial reports throughout the year.

"Now three-quarters through the year, the usual boost from the back-to-school season appears to be a bust, and both AMD and Intel’s third-quarter outlooks appear to be flat to down," said IHS senior principal analyst for computer systems Craig Stice.

"Optimism has vanished and turned to doubt, and the industry is now training its sights on 2013 to deliver the hoped-for rebound."

If the projections hold true, the market will see its first contraction since 2001, when the dot-com bubble collapsed and companies throughout the industry were sent into a tailspin. IHS projects that the global market will see some 348.7 million units sold compared to 352.8 million PCs shipped in 2011.

The projections will put a damper on what vendors were hoping would be a strong finish for the 2012 calendar year. With Microsoft set to launch Windows 8 later this month, vendors were hoping to see a boost as users upgrade their systems to accommodate the new OS.

Though the release looks to boost the sale of consumer and personal use PCs, the enterprise market will likely not see significant adoption until Microsoft has issued significant updates, with many firms holding off on migrating until the release of the first service pack.

While many vendors have warned of slumping sales, others claim to be defying market trends. Apple has cited strong sales of its Macintosh desktop and notebook lines with helping to push a string of record quarters.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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