Sales of new PCs plummeted nearly 14 percent globally in the first three months of the year, and much of the blame is being placed on Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system.
International Data Corp. reported Wednesday that shipments of PCs totaled 76.3 million worldwide in the first quarter of 2013, down 13.9 percent from the same period the previous year.
"PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago," IDC said, blaming "fading mini notebook shipments and competition from tablets and smartphones ... as well as a weak reception for Windows 8."
As The New York Times reports, consumers right now are more jazzed by mobile technologies than by old-school conventional computers:
"In this environment, Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last October. The software, a bold redesign of the company's flagship operating system, is tailored to run on tablets, traditional keyboard-and-mouse computers and hybrid devices that combine elements of both. But it seems that the changes Microsoft made with Windows were so extreme that they scared off buyers."
The Wall Street Journal quotes IDC analyst Jay Chou as saying "the reaction to Windows 8 is real" and that businesses also are keeping their distance.
Ricoh Americas COO Tracey Rothenberger told the Journal that the company will stick with Windows 7, released in 2009, instead of switching to Windows 8 on its 17,000 PCs.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with [Windows 8]," Rothenberger said. "But I think there's minimal value in the incremental changes that are there."
The plunge in sales has sparked a decline in shares of some computer makers, with Hewlett-Packard, Apple and Dell all losing ground in Thursday morning trading.