PC Shipments Dim As Tablets Shine

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - According to the numbers, 2012 was not a great year for PCs running Microsoft ( MSFT) Windows. But it was a very good year for tablets.

The experts at Gartner have just released their latest numbers which show that in the fourth quarter of last year, PC shipments are down 2.1% in the United States and nearly 5% worldwide, year over year.

According to the preliminary numbers, Lenovo and Asus had very good quarters. Now no.2, Lenovo shipments were up 8.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, while Asus shipments were up a slightly more modest 6.4%. But others didn't fare nearly as well.

While back in first place overall, Hewlett Packard ( HPQ) shipments were down 0.5%, Acer down 11% and Dell ( DELL) dropped a whopping 20.9% These numbers include desktop PCs, mobile computers (laptops/notebooks) and mini-notebooks, but not tablets.

Gartner explains it all this way:

"During the holiday season, consumers no longer viewed PCs as the number one gift item," the tech research firm wrote. "Given a burgeoning variety of increasingly more attractive devices and services, consumers directed their attention elsewhere. Analysts said there was uptake of very low priced notebooks as a part of mega holiday deals, but this uptake did little to boost holiday PC sales".

What makes the numbers even more interesting is that Microsoft's fourth-quarter release of Windows 8, which was supposed to help manufacturers with a much-needed year-end boost did nothing to help most manufacturers' bottom lines.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

More from Technology

Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube, But It'll Be an Uphill Online Battle

Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube, But It'll Be an Uphill Online Battle

Microsoft Chief Says Its ICE Contract Isn't Part of Child Separation Policy

Microsoft Chief Says Its ICE Contract Isn't Part of Child Separation Policy

Immigration, Instagram and Oil - Here's What You Can't Miss Wednesday

Immigration, Instagram and Oil - Here's What You Can't Miss Wednesday

What Will GM Do With Cruise -- and Is Its Stock Worth $55?

What Will GM Do With Cruise -- and Is Its Stock Worth $55?

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio

3 Warren Buffett Stock Picks That Could Be Perfect for Your Retirement Portfolio