There were just 76.3 million PCs shipped worldwide during the first three months of the year, according to industry watcher IDC. That's the sharpest year-over-year decline that IDC has witnessed since it began tracking quarterly shipping trends 19 years ago. The low volume of desktops and laptops finds the PC industry back at 2006 levels.
Everyone knows what's happening. Smartphones and tablets are taking over. Apps and cloud-based solutions are making it less necessary to be tethered to a PC. This is terrible news for Microsoft (MSFT 1.55%), so it wasn't a surprise to see Goldman Sachs downgrade Mr. Softy shortly after the IDC report.
There will always be a market for PCs; it will probably just continue to shrink indefinitely. This is a market that was ripe for disruption. Most people don't need the processing power packed into laptops, and the lack of desktop portability makes it less practical in these mobile times we live in.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- Rite Aid (RAD 3.04%) soared after posting its first quarterly profit in six years. There were a few one-time benefits padding those results, and comps clocked in with a 2% decline, but the end result is that the drugstore chain continues to improve its operations.
- Alcoa (AA) kicked off the week by posting a surprising increase in adjusted profitability. Analysts figured that the aluminum giant would be posting a decline on the bottom line.
- Reports surface this week, indicating that Apple (AAPL 1.78%) is in talks with Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) to expand Yahoo!'s presence on Apple devices. Yahoo! already provides the default weather and stock quote applications for iOS gadgetry. You'll know a deal's in place when Apple adopts the exclamation point at the end of its name.