The drop in PC shipments was nearly twice as bad as the 7.7 per cent decline the global market intelligence company IDC expected, and it marked the fourth consecutive quarter in which PC shipments fell year-over-year.
Gartner, another technology consultancy, posted similar figures for the period with the analysis firm saying that 79 million PCs were shipped worldwide in the first quarter — the fewest number of shipments since the second quarter of 2009.
PC industry titans have tried to innovate themselves out of their sales slump, but recent attempts have failed. Ultrabooks, super-thin notebook computers, debuted to great fanfare in 2011. But sales disappointed, and firms quickly slashed their ultrabook sales forecasts.
In October 2012, Microsoft debuted Windows 8, which received mixed reviews, and sales have been muted compared with past Windows launches.
Bob O’Donnell, a vice president at IDC, said in the company’s report that “the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market.”
He slammed Windows 8’s “radical changes” to the user interface, particularly the removal of the iconic start button, and intimated that the switch is confusing for customers.
“Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market,” O’Donnell said in the report.