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June 6, 2011 at 8:21 AM

IDC slashes PC forecast for 2011

Research firm IDC slashed its PC forecast for 2011 on Monday, which will likely have implications for Microsoft’s software business. Windows sales mirrors growth of the PC industry.

IDC, based in Framingham, Mass., now expects global shipments of PCs to grow 4.2 percent in 2011. In February, IDC had predicted growth of 7.1 percent in 2011.

The report attributes the slowing growth to the economy, slow sales in developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe and a shrinking appetite for netbooks.

Netbooks now have competition from lower-priced laptops and tablets, IDC said. The report gave these 2010 shipment numbers: 31 million laptops; 17.9 million netbooks; 1.3 million netbooks.

“Consumers are recognizing the value of owning and using multiple intelligent devices and because they already own PCs, they’re now adding smart phones, media tablets, and eReaders to their device collections,” said Bob O’Donnell, IDC vice president in the report. “And this has shifted the technology share of wallet onto other connected devices.”

Consumer spending has also been dampened by the prolonged recession in the U.S., IDC said. Internationally, sales have been affected by the earthquake in Japan and political unrest in the Middle East.

“The PC market has definitely hit a slow patch,” said Loren Loverde, IDC vice president said in the report. “Nevertheless, the long-term growth drivers – first among which are growth in emerging markets, declining prices, and growing functionality – remain intact, and the product and design innovations underway will keep PC growth healthy in the long term.”

Here is a chart of the PC forecast from IDC. “Mature markets” refers to the U.S., Japan, Western Europe and Canada. “Emerging markets” includes the rest of Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

idc pc chart 06 2011.jpg

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