Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Apple Inc. (AAPL) & The Personal Computer

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)You’ve probably heard me proclaim that the PC is dead. It’s a storyline The Motley Fool has been following for years, and it’s quite a controversial one among Foolish readers. Just for clarification, keep in mind that when we say “dead,” we don’t mean it literally. Rather, “dead” refers to the PC stepping aside as the primary computing form factor while worldwide shipments contract.

Each quarter, IDC releases its estimates on the smartphone, tablet, and PC markets. Earlier this month, the market researcher blamed Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 as a major factor leading to the unprecedented 14% drop in worldwide unit shipments in the first quarter. IDC typically waits to release its smartphone and tablet estimates until after Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reports earnings, since the Mac maker saves everyone some trouble by actually disclosing unit volumes (unlike most of its rivals).

With these figures in hand, investors can get a comprehensive look at the overall computing market, which includes all three form factors.

Source: IDC.

When looking at the broader computing market through this lens, the PC as a form factor has just hit a new low. PCs are now just 22% of all computing devices.

Source: IDC.

Invariably, many will argue that it’s inappropriate to compare PCs to mobile devices, since PCs are still needed for productivity demands. This argument is only true to a certain extent. Even though PCs are truly needed for productivity, enterprise PC upgrade cycles aren’t frequent enough to sustain the entire market.

That’s especially true considering how poor Windows 8 is doing in the enterprise. Forrester Research, Inc. (NASDAQ:FORR) released a report last week that estimates that just 2% of surveyed IT pros are upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows XP, while 69% are opting for Windows 7.

Meanwhile on the global front, many regular consumers in emerging markets can only afford one device for casual computing needs. These consumers are opting for mobile devices instead, which is why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its mobile rivals are increasingly focusing on developing countries. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is hitting a ceiling, but fortunately Tim Cook is well aware of this and is about to do something about it.

The PC just hit a new low, but it’ll keep heading lower.

The article The PC Just Hit a New Low originally appeared on and is written by Evan Niu, CFA.

Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. 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.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.