2011 PC sales forecast slashed by analysts

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Poor PC vendors. If a new report by analyst firm IDC is to be believed, the world and his wife are conspiring to reduce PC shipment growth for the rest of 2011. At the beginning of the year IDC predicted 7.1% growth for the PC sector, however after a poor Q1 that forecast has now been revised down to just 4.2%.

In their analysis, IDC explain that low-cost laptops and the fleeting netbook crazy of 2008-2009 have served to keep growth relatively strong. Now, however, with the recession still tugging on purse strings worldwide, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, and no hot new products to buoy their numbers, worldwide PC shipments are starting to cool off.

Also blamed for the slowdown are the Japanese earthquake / tsunami in early March (which hit both production and purchasing), the various Arab uprisings, and cutbacks in Government spending in the West.

Frankly, with all of those hindrances we’re surprised PC shipments are growing at all. Manufacturers aren’t taking the news lying down though. All of the big players have seen the dip coming and are experimenting with various levels of diversification in order to make up the shortfall. HP is planning to install webOS (their mobile operating system) on all PCs shipped from the end of the year, using them as a Trojan Horse of sorts to prepare consumers for their mobile OS onslaught, due to begin soon with the launch of the TouchPad tablet.

Meanwhile in Taiwan ASUS seem to be taking a suck-it-and-see approach with their smart devices, introducing no less than three distinct (and slightly off-the-wall) form factors with the Eee Pad Transformer, Slider and PadFone. Even PC stalwart Microsoft recently unveiled their newest, tablet-friendly version of Windows.

It wasn’t all bad news though, IDC’s Loren Loverde said it is merely a “slow patch”, and the firm expects shipments to warm up again in 2012, and hover around the 10% mark for the following three years.

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