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Windows 8 Drives People To Smartphones And Tablets

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By ASSOCIATED PRESS APRIL 10, 2013

Microsoft’s Windows 8 software appears to be driving buyers away from PCs and toward smartphones and tablets, research firm IDC said Wednesday. That’s leading to the fastest drop in PC sales the firm has ever seen.

Global shipments of PCs fell 14 percent in the first three months this year, IDC said. That’s the sharpest plunge since the firm started tracking the industry in 1994.

The report comes after a year of bad news for the PC. Consumers, especially in wealthy countries like the U.S., are buying tablets and smartphones rather than upgrading their home PCs.

In an attempt to keep the PC relevant, Microsoft released a radical new version of Windows on Oct. 26. Windows 8 has a completely new look and forces users to learn new ways to control their machines.

“Unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only didn’t provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” IDC Vice President Bob O’Donnell said.

The newest version of Windows is designed to work well with touch-sensitive screens, but the displays add to the cost of a PC.

Another research firm, Gartner, reported an 11 percent decline in PC shipments in the quarter. That, too, is the sharpest decline it has seen since it started tracking the market in 2001.

Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest maker of PCs, saw a 24 percent drop in shipments in the first quarter compared with the same period a year ago. The industry’s No. 2, China’s Lenovo Group, is benefiting from sales to first-time buyers in China and other developing countries. As a result, it held sales steady, alone among the world’s top 5 PC makers, according to IDC’s figures.

Gartner noted one bright spot: Businesses are buying more PCs, and account for about half of the market.