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Apple Inc. (AAPL) Has a Bigger Problem Than You Think

Things just aren’t getting any easier for the PC industry.

Industry tracker Gartner is out with its quarterly metrics for the computer market, and things don’t look good for the desktop and laptop markets.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Worldwide shipments fell 10.9%, to 76 million units. It’s the fifth straight quarter of declines for the industry. That’s never happened.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) updating its operating system late last year was supposed to be the catalyst that triggered an upgrade cycle, but we’re now three quarters into the Windows 8 era. It’s just not going to happen. Folks are loading up on tablets, especially in emerging markets, where tablets are the new laptops. Smartphones are also dampening the demand for full-blown PCs, and that’s bad news for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in a world where most tablets and smartphones run either iOS or Android.

There were some notable moves during the period. Lenovo overtook Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) to ship the most computers worldwide during the past three months. Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) remains a distant third.

However, things were interesting closer to home, with PC shipments only declining by 1.4%, to clock in just shy of 15 million units.

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) retained their top positions, and Dell actually saw year-over-year domestic improvement. Then we get to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), where the Cupertino magic is running thin.

Q2 2013 Share Q2 2012 Share Growth
HP 3,957,761 26.4% 3,976,041 26.2% (0.5%)
Dell 3,681,725 24.6% 3,458,736 22.8% 6.4%
Apple 1,740,500 11.6% 1,818,959 12% (4.3%)
Lenovo 1,515,562 10.1% 1,266,109 8.3% 19.7%

Source: Gartner (July 2013).

You may notice that Mac daddy posted the largest year-over-year decline, but perhaps even more surprising is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the only one of the four largest players to actually see its market share contract during the period.

Remember Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s halo effect? When the iPod took off, it triggered a spike in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)computer sales. The halo effect didn’t show any signs of slowing during the iPhone and iPad rollouts, but the class act of Cupertino is certainly vulnerable now.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still selling plenty of iPads and iPhones, but for some reason, the halo effect is no longer working. The consumer tech giant may have done too good a job with its mobile devices, giving Mac fans fewer reasons to pony up for new Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) computers.

There could be an even scarier explanation. What if Macs are no longer cool because Apple is pushing older iPhones and iPads that carry lower price tags, but also make Apple seem less stylish and innovative? The same halo effect that sent folks scrambling toward Apple products may now be repelling computer shoppers. That would be a dreadful scenario, and it’s one that Apple better make sure isn’t the case.

The article Apple Has a Bigger Problem Than You Think originally appeared on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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