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PC makers expected bad; they got worse

  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The first quarter of 2013 saw the biggest drop in shipments from personal-computer makers since 1994, and  tablet makers like Apple are laughing all the way to the bank. As Quartz’s Christopher Mims explained a few months ago:

For everything from browsing the web to acting as a cash register, a tablet is sufficient and in some cases superior at performing the jobs that we used to rely on PCs to do, and tablets are cannibalizing PC sales. By 2016, there will be 750 million tablets in use worldwide. Of those, 375 million tablets will be sold that year alone, and businesses will buy a third of them, predicts J.P. Gownder, an analyst at technology research firm Forrester. In the education sector, sales of iPads are already outpacing PCs. A new survey by Forrester found that “13% of tablet owners said they bought their tablet instead of a laptop; 18% say they’ll wait longer to buy their next laptop and 14% say they won’t buy a new laptop ever.”

Now the sales data are reflecting PC makers’ worst fears. And IDC, the research company monitoring the shipment data, blames Microsoft’s Windows 8, too, for daunting users with an unfamiliar interface. AP Photo by Koji Sasahara

Correction: An earlier version of this article said the drop in shipments was for the first quarter of 2012 instead of 2013.

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