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Hey Windows 10, weren't you supposed to help PC sales?

Hang on vendors, it is going to get bumpy until we hit the new bottom

A fix for the troubled Windows 10 Start menu

Very few if any ever thought Windows 10 would truly reinvigorate the PC industry, and they were right - IDC has pulled down forecasts on traditional device sales for 2016.

The analyst has clipped unit expectations by a couple of per cent, claiming global notebooks and desktops shipments into channels are now on course to decline 5.4 per cent to 260.9 million.

That’ll equate to 156.2 million portable PCs and 104.7 million desk-based units for the year if the beanies are right, but these things tend to be a moving feast and further corrections are likely.

In the medium term, things aren’t going to get markedly better either - over the next five years compound annual growth rates of minus 0.5 per cent are predicted.

The operating system can’t shoulder sole responsibility for unit sales to date or the crappy outlook but it has played a part, and was fingered by HP Inc last summer and again more recently.

IDC said Microsoft allowing users to upgrade older hardware to Win 10 “provided an option to further stretch the life of older PCs”.

“Replacements continue to be postponed, and future shipments increasingly depend on replacing older PCs,” said Loren Loverde, veep of worldwide tracker forecasting.

The analyst said competition from tablets and smartphones, weak economic conditions, falling commodity prices and roller coaster currencies had “further depressed demand”.

Distributors and PC makers spent much of last year trying to deal with an inventory glut, which proved to be a costly process. As a hangover, sales channel are forecasting sales more conservatively and buying in stocks accordingly.

These factors reshaped the shipment projection for 2016 and also forced a re-think about the years beyond. IDC reduced projections by about one per cent for 2017 to 2020.

Sales of detachable tablets with larger screen sizes more than doubled in 2015 but still comprised six per cent of the total PC market, so are not large enough to offset shrinkage elsewhere.

Convertibles, ultra slim devices and all-in-one desktops are the segments to which vendors will need to cling for growth.

Toshiba was the first this year to pull out of a major territory, beating retreat from the retail PC market in Europe, but it will not be the last. ®

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