Are PC shipments up or down? That depends on whether your definition of "personal computer" includes tablets.
Worldwide PC shipments are either up or down, depending on how you define the term "personal computer."
If you're the sort of person who's inclined to see the glass as half-empty, you may find recent reports from research firms International Data Corporation (IDC) and Gartner to your taste. They paint a bleak picture of the PC industry, a vision reinforced by Dell's decision to go private.
IDC in January said that worldwide PC shipments reached only 89.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 6.4% from the same quarter in 2011. As if to underscore the dismal state of PC sales, the firm noted that the 6.4% figure was worse than the predicted 4.4% decline and that the launch of Windows 8 failed to buoy dwindling interest in PCs.
Gartner's numbers were no sunnier. It reported worldwide PC shipments of 90.3 million units for Q4 2012. Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, noted in a statement that tablets have changed the device landscape by becoming, for many, an alternative to a PC rather than a complementary device.