Apple Can’t Escape the PC Bust

The increasing popularity of tablets continues to make things difficult for notebooks and desktops. Total PC shipments in the U.S. fell 4.5 percent, from 18.6 million to 17.75 million, year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released by IDC. Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Mac line did not escape the contraction, falling 0.2 percent, though it managed to gain overall market share.

Even the release of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 did not help PC manufacturers, though the research firm expressed hope that things would turn around as consumers got used to the new operating system.

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“Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4,” IDC’s Jay Chou said in a statement. “Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013.”

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was the top seller with a 27 percent share of the U.S. market and, in a standout performance, actually grew 12.4 percent with shipments of 4.8 million units. Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) managed to stay in second place despite seeing a 16.6 percent year-to-year. Its 3.5 million units accounted for a 19.6 percent share of the market.

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Apple stayed in third place with an 11.4 percent market share. It shipped 2.03 million Macs over the three-month period, losing shipments year-over-year but actually gaining market share over vendors. Lenovo was in fourth place, just ahead of Toshiba, which saw a massive 33.9 percent decline.

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