There's little doubt that the global PC market has seen better days, as companies like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and the now-privately held Dell seek to diversify their businesses away from this contracting market. However, PC makers were thrown a long overdue bone by an old ally -- software powerhouse Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

Research firm IDC recently released its Q1 2014 smartphone market share data and, unsurprisingly, things weren't exactly pretty. According to IDC, the overall market for personal computers shrank another -4.4% in the first quarter. However, there were a few key silver linings evident in the report, as well, and that's precisely where Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft come in.

Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft rising

Source: Microsoft

In parsing IDC's report, Hewlett-Packard took center stage as one of the surprisingly bright spots by increasing its market share and overall shipment volumes during the quarter. This certainly could have something to do with the ongoing turnaround underway at Hewlett-Packard under CEO Meg Whitman. However, Microsoft probably loomed large, as well.

According to IDC, Microsoft's ending its support for Windows XP has had the effect that had been rumored for so long, certainly implying that the Windows refresh storyline positively contributed to success for the likes of Hewlett-Packard.

However, as we head into tech earnings season in the weeks to come, this storyline certainly could hold positive implications for Hewlett-Packard or Microsoft shareholders, as tech and telecom analyst Andrew Tonner discusses in the video below.

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