PC Market Weakness Eased by XP Migration

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The PC market is hardly booming, although migration from Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows XP and healthy commercial spending delivered better-than-expected first-quarter performance, according to tech research firm IDC.

IDC reports that 73.4 million PCs were shipped in the first quarter of 2014, a year-over-year decline of 4.4%, better than the projected fall of 5.3%. IDC noted that commercial PC refreshes helped lifted PC shipments, which received a "last push" from the end of XP support, particularly in Japan. The Framingham, Mass.-based firm also highlighted slowing demand for tablets, which limited the effect of "previously drastic cutbacks" in netbooks.

Nonetheless, worldwide PC shipments have declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of competition from tablets and smartphones and pressure in the wider economy, according to IDC. During the first quarter, PC sales felt the impact of weakness in emerging markets, particularly in Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan.

"The economic front seems to be gradually stabilizing and/or improving," wrote Loren Loverde, vice president of IDC's Worldwide PC Trackers, in a statement. "However, this has been a slow process, and it is unlikely that sovereign debt issues will be resolved soon or that growth in emerging markets like China will return to prior levels."

Lenovo maintained the top position amongst PC vendors during the first quarter, with 17.7% market share, up from 15.3% in the same period last year. The Chinese tech giant also grew its shipments by 10.5% compared to the prior year's quarter.

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