According to research firm IDC, things are not looking great for the PC industry. The firm says that PC sales saw "the steepest decline ever in a single quarter" this year (excluding tablets and notebooks with a removable screen or keyboard), down 13.9 percent to 76.3 million from the same quarter last year. If you'll recall, thats more than double the loss the industry experienced in the fourth quarter of 2012, which saw a 6.4 percent decline. Back in January, IDC noted that sales declined year-to-year during the holiday season the first time in more than five years. Today's newly reported results from IDC mark the fourth consecutive quarter that PC shipments have fallen.

"Windows 8 appears to have slowed the market."

"Despite some mild improvement in the economic environment and some new PC models offering Windows 8, PC shipments were down significantly across all regions compared to a year ago," IDC writes. "At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market." Of course, the figures don't include tablets and hybrids which make up a good portion of the Windows 8 market, so the results should be considered with that omission in mind.

IDC says the US market was hit about as hard as the global average, dropping by 12.7 year-over-year, and with an 18.3 percent drop over the fourth quarter of 2012. The firm says that total volume in the US fell to 14.2 million PCs sold, which reportedly indicates the lowest level since the first quarter of 2006. Excluding one quarter in 2011, IDC notes that the US is now in its "tenth consecutive quarter of year-on-year contraction."

As for individual vendors, Lenovo stands out as the only PC manufacturer without a precipitous loss in growth — IDC says the company posted a 0.0 percent change year-over-year, maintaining its second place spot and closing the gap with HP. But all top five vendors performed unremarkably in the year since Q1 2012, with shipments from HP declining by 23.7 percent, Dell by 10.9 percent, Acer by 31.3 percent, and ASUS by 19.2 percent. IDC says even Apple took a hit in the first quarter of 2013, with a 7.5 percent decline in growth over 2012. "The industry is going through a critical crossroads," IDC writes. "Microsoft will have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if it wants to help reinvigorate the PC market."