PCs Are Dead: Long Live Tablets

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The American dream used to be owning a home, a white picket fence, and having a family computer. Now, it's having a tablet in the house.

Research firm IDC notes that, in the first-quarter of 2013, PC shipments fell 13.9% year over year to 76.3 million units, sharply worse than the 7.7% IDC forecasted. This is the worst contraction since IDC started keeping data, and it's mostly due to tablets and smartphones taking over, and businesses not believing in Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows 8 operating system. "At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays, in the press release.

Apple ( AAPL) isn't immune to the slowdown, seeing a 7.5% decline year over year in the U.S. market, but Apple is a different beast. Apple's iPad is the best selling tablet in the marketplace according to IDC's fourth-quarter data. This PC shipment news doesn't take iPad sales into account. It's clear that iPads and other tablets are heavily affecting PC sales, and Apple, with its first mover advantage in the tablet space, is enjoying the benefits.

Almost the entire PC space saw a decline, as companies like HP ( HPQ), Dell ( DELL), and Asus saw declines worldwide. Only Lenovo was able to show flat growth worldwide, and actually showed improvement in the U.S. market, growing 13% to 1.27 million units.

Both HP and Dell are undergoing massive restructuring efforts, and Lenovo has been able to take advantage of that, with an aggressive product strategy. One interesting tidbit is that this isn't just about price, as the bottom end vendors aren't growing in the U.S., so it's not just about shelling out less dollars for any old computer. Companies are having a hard time innovating, and that's being seen in the results.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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