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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

IDC: PC shipments down 0.2 percent in fourth quarter 2011

Ahead of Microsoft’s second-quarter earnings results expected Thursday, research firm IDC has issued a report saying worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011 declined 0.2 percent from the same quarter in 2010.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 92.7 million. While that was down for the quarter, it nevertheless contributed to a growth of 1.6 percent for the full year.

IDC said this was in line with its projections of a 0.6 percent decline for the fourth quarter and 1.5 percent growth for all of 2011.

IDC said that “as expected, shortages of hard disk drives (HDDs) (from the flooding in Thailand) added to challenges from slow economic conditions and competition from other consumer electronics, including media tablets, eReaders and mobile phones” in the decline in PC shipments.

But IDC added that “despite the supply chain constraints wrought by the flooding in Thailand, most regions slightly exceeded forecast, and most Tier 1 PC vendors had access to sufficient HDD supply, though smaller PC vendors and retail channels experienced drive shortages.”

Another research firm — Gartner — had earlier earlier estimated that worldwide PC shipments declined 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the year-ago period. Gartner estimated 92.2 million units were shipped in the fourth quarter 2011.

Microsoft last week had warned financial analysts that sales of PCs would likely drop faster than expected in the fourth quarter, particularly because of floods in Thailand, where many computer parts are made. (The fourth quarter in a calendar year is the second quarter for MIcrosoft’s fiscal year which starts July 1.)

Analysts are expecting Microsoft to announce earnings per share of 77 cents, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. That would be the same as the earnings for the same quarter last year.

Forbes estimates that Microsoft will bring in $20.94 billion in sales for the quarter, up 4.9 percent from $19.95 billion this quarter last year.

Microsoft is set to webcast its second quarter earnings conference call Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on its investor relations site.

Microsoft shares closed Tuesday at $28.25, the same as the day before.

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