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Windows 8 fails to stem PC decline in Europe

14 Feb 2013

PCs shipments in Western Europe shrank 11.7 percent year on year in the last three months of 2012 despite the release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, according to research firm Gartner.

Gartner reported that Q4 2012 Western Europe PC shipments totalled 15.3 million units, a marked decline on the 17.3 million shipped during the same period in 2011.

The figure means that total PC shipments reached hit 58 million units in 2012, a decrease of 8.4 percent from 2011.

Principal research analyst at Gartner Ranjit Atwal said the figures underlined the lack of interest in Windows 8 as consumers prefer tablets and enterprise adoption is a long way off.

"Consumers are not interested in PCs - Windows 8 or otherwise, while professional users are still migrating to Windows 7," he told V3.

Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, added that the region's financial difficulties were also having an impact.

"The second consecutive yearly decline indicates that the issues the PC market faces are beyond a weak economy, a poorly understood new operating system, or ultramobiles being priced too high to generate demand."

The decline hit PC makers hard, with HP seeing an 8.8 percent decline in shipments, Acer a 16.4 percent decline, Asus 8.4 percent and Dell a massive 21.9 percent.

Only Lenovo remained untouched, boasting a 23.2 percent increase in shipments.

Despite the losses, HP remained the region's number one vendor holding a 21.5 percent share of the market, marking an 1.3 percent increase in its market share.

Below it Acer and Lenovo took second. Acer retained the position despite a 0.7 percent decline in its stake in the PC market, currently controlling 12.1 percent share.

Lenovo enjoyed a 2.3 percent increase in its share, matching Acer's 11.4 percent stake in the market.

Escherich claimed that the PC market will continue to decline as users continue to show a preference for mobile tablet devices.

"In the future, we expect buyers will not replace secondary or tertiary PCs in their households by allowing them to become obsolete, preferring instead to purchase tablets. We should see an increase in PC margins as users favour PCs with richer applications," said Escherich.

The slump is worrying for PC makers. Dell has moved to go private to refocus its strategy while Apple has the market in it sights to boost its tablet sales.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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