The PC market’s outlook improves, but shipments will still fall this year

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook front angle
According to IDC, a market research firm, the picture for the PC market isn’t as bleak as it once was. However, it’s not exactly rosy and filled with sunshine and rainbows, either.

IDC’s latest figures indicate that global PC shipments will fall by -3.7 percent. That’s an improved number over -6, which is what IDC previously forecasted for the market. The growth of PCs has been held back in emerging markets due to multiple factors, one of which is economics, developed markets are displaying signs of renewed interest in PCs. IDC says that PC shipments in these areas will spike by 5.6 percent this year, which is the highest figure since 2010.

Related: Windows 9 public preview likely coming soon

IDC cites a few reasons for the improved outlook in the PC world. Microsoft deserves part of the credit with its decision to discontinue Windows XP, which it did this past April. By ending support for XP, an operating system that enjoys a significant share of the desktop OS usage market, Microsoft essentially forced millions of people to move to PCs that run on Windows 7 or 8, both of which continue to receive security support from Microsoft.

Related: Here are the latest Windows 9 rumors

Also, the wider availability of cheaper computing options, like Chromebooks, is another part of the equation. Microsoft and PC OEMs are expected to target the low-end laptop market heavily this winter by launching a large set of laptops priced in the $200 – $400 range, which is where Chromebooks generally live from a pricing standpoint.

There’s another factor that could also help to revive interest in the PC: Windows 9. Microsoft is expected to publicly reveal its next desktop OS sometime in late September, or early October.

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