IDC and Gartner's reports were sobering, but they did find a few bright spots. Gartner noted that in the U.S., HP, Dell, and Lenovo reported better-than-average U.S. growth rate for the recent quarters. "The end of Windows XP support potentially drove the remaining PC refresh in the U.S. professional market," Gartner wrote.
IDC was also bullish that the demise of XP support could drive future PC sales. "The U.S. market is beginning to reflect some of the Windows XP to Windows 7 transition we've been expecting," wrote said Bob O'Donnell, IDC's program vice president, clients and displays.
IDC also said a wider selection of Windows 8 models helped push higher PC volumes than originally anticipated. That could bode well for the Windows 8.1 release in August.