Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) new CEO has his work cut out for him. IDC this morning revised downward its expectations for PC shipments this year and into the future. Its chart depicting growth of desktop and portable PCs in emerging and mature markets is a sea of negative values.
For 2014, IDC now expects a total decline in PC shipments worldwide of 6.1 percent, meaning shipments will drop below the 300 million mark to 295.9 million. By 2018, the decline slows a bit to 0.2 percent with shipments dropping to 291.7 million, according to the researchers.
IDC counts desktops and laptops of all sizes that include non-detachable keyboards.
The forecast comes even after 2013 worked out slightly better than IDC had expected. Shipments fell by 9.8 percent during the year, a bit better than the 10.1 percent decline the researches predicted. Still, the year marked the "most severe contraction on record," IDC said. The researchers say the slightly better results came from short-term factors like XP replacements.
IDC said that while emerging markets typically drive the PC market, the weak economic environment combined with shifts in technology buying priorities mean those areas aren't pulling their weight. Presumably, the change in technology buying priorities indicates that people in emerging countries are buying smartphones or tablets instead of PCs.
The report confirms the challenges ahead for Microsoft, whose Windows and Office cash cows rely on PC sales. Microsoft's bet on the radical redesign of Windows 8 hasn't stemmed the tide of movement away from PCs and toward tablets and phones that run competing operating systems.
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