The personal computer industry will experience its worst unit sales
decline in the sector's history this year, according to a report from
information technology consultant Gartner, Inc. The industry is
expected to ship 257 million units in 2009, an 11 percent decline from
2008. The worst previous decline was a 3.2 percent drop in 2001 over
2000. "The PC industry is facing extraordinary conditions as the global
economy continues to weaken, users stretch PC lifetimes, and PC
suppliers grow increasingly cautious," says George Shiffler, a Gartner
research director. The group says both mature and emerging markets will
experience sharp declines, although the impact will be stronger in
mature markets, where replacements, rather than additions, will account
for 80 percent of shipments. The mini-notebook -- or netbook -- market
will cushion the blow, with a forecast of 21 million units to ship this
year, up from 11.7 million units in 2008.
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