The bad news first; worldwide PC shipments are shrinking fast and the general outlook for the next five years is not rosy. However the good news is that the west, rather than emerging markets is providing with the necessary boost.
Analyst firm IDC reckons that the number of PC units shipped globally is expected to drop this year by 3.7%, much less than the forecasted 6%. Surprisingly, emerging markets are expected to show a more significant slump compared to more mature ones (down by 10.6% compared to a 5.6% jump).
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Overall, PC shipments for 2014 are expected to reach 304 million units but although IDC didn't publish that figure in this particular report, the global revenue for that computing category is likely to be flat or up marginally as PCs usually sell for more in mature market and - good news for Microsoft - usually come with a genuine, original operating system.
A lull before the slump?
Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers, confirmed that Microsoft's recent decision to sell Windows 8.1 with Bing for cheap or give it away has had a positive impact.
"Programs to reduce PC prices [...] helped to improve PC shipments in some segments," he said, "Coupled with a shift toward more mobile PCs, the market has seen a quickened pace of innovation and a focus on price points. Nevertheless, the prospects for significant PC growth in the long term remain tenuous, as users increasingly see PCs as only one of several computing devices."