The EMEA PC market has been heavily influenced by Microsoft's operating system schedule in the third quarter, according to IDC, which pointed to XP's end of life and the imminent launch of Windows 8.1 devices as key factors in the market's performance.
In Q3, PC shipments in EMEA dropped 16 per cent annually to 21.4 million units. Some 13.3 million units were portable PCs, shipments of which slumped more than a fifth compared to last year, while the remaining eight million PCs were desktops, whose shipments fell seven per cent over the same period.
IDC said the market contracted less than the previous quarter because of improving commercial demand driven by the imminent end of support for Microsoft's 12-year-old operating system, Windows XP.
"The end of Windows XP support in 2014 is driving IT departments to focus on hardware refresh, generating higher renewal in the corporate space," said Chrystelle Labesque, IDC's research director for EMEA personal computing.
"While it is too early to talk about recovery, the worst seems to have been reached in the second quarter of 2013... The ramp-up is mainly in the commercial area, with September performance above expectations for most players."
Despite the end of XP sparking demand in the commercial sector, IDC added that the recent launch of Windows 8.1 tempered demand as vendors tried to keep Q3 inventory low for fear of being left with mountains of outdated stock.
"[An] updated Microsoft OS [Windows 8.1] is expected to hit the shelves in the fourth quarter of the year," said senior research analyst of EMEA personal computing Maciej Gornicki. "As a result, in order to avoid inventory build-up on outdated technology, shipments in 3Q remained modest."
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