Wednesday, the research firm IDC claims that their numbers showed worldwide PC shipments went down by 13.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013, well below expectations. IDC was pretty quick to blame the launch of Windows 8 as one of the main reason for the PC shipment shortfall, claiming that the new user interface and the lack of a Start menu on the desktop, among other things, "have made PCs a less attractive alternative" compared to tablets.
The same day, another well know research firm, Gartner, issued its own PC shipment report for the first quarter of this year. Like IDC, they reported a large overall drop in PC shipments worldwide, to 79.2 million units. Gartner's number are slightly better than IDC, claiming that shipments were down 11.2 percent from the same period a year ago.
While Gartner agreed with IDC that consumers are now buying more tablets and smartphones in place of PC desktops and notebooks, Gartner was not as quick to blame Windows 8 for the PC industry's current issues. Isabelle Durand, principal research analyst at Gartner, stated:
Touchscreen-based Ultramobiles offer PC manufacturers an opportunity to recover market share from media tablets, but Windows 8 PCs with touchscreens accounted for only a small percentage of consumer PC shipments in the first quarter of 2013. The majority of consumers remain unwilling to pay the price premium for touchscreen capabilities on PCs at this stage. But, even so, touchscreens and Windows 8 will represent key opportunities for PC manufacturers in the second half of 2013.
So basically, Gartner believes it's not Windows 8 itself that's the problem but rather the price of touchscreen-based PCs that are too high, along with the fact that a limited number of those PCs have been shipped so far. PC makers who come out with cheaper touchscreen PCs with Windows 8 will do better in the second half of 2013, based on Gartner's forecast.
Like IDC, Gartner also doesn't count Windows 8-based tablet devices, such as Microsoft Surface Pro, as part of their PC shipment numbers, something which perhaps both companies should perhaps think about adding in future reports.