Apple Can’t Escape the PC Bust

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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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