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PC market declines 10 percent ahead of Windows 10 launch

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After two years of decline the PC market was poised for growth this year alongside the launch of Windows 10. While it's too early to say whether that will happen, market research firms Gartner and IDC both agree that the PC market has already declined around 10 percent year over year. "The slow PC shipments were largely anticipated as a result of stronger year-ago shipments relating to end of support for Windows XP as well as channels reducing inventory ahead of the release of Windows 10," says IDC.

Windows 10 launch expected to go relatively well

Despite the drop, the PC market is still expected to stabilize soon. "While the PC industry is going through a decline, the market is expected to go back to slow and steady growth in 2016," notes Gartner. IDC expects the Windows 10 launch will go "relatively well," but warns that many will opt for the free OS upgrade rather than purchase a new PC. Microsoft is allowing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free until July 29th, 2016.

Both IDC and Gartner agree that Lenovo is still the top PC manufacturer, with HP second and Dell third. One area where the two research firms have conflicting numbers is for fourth and fifth spots. IDC claims Apple is the fourth top PC maker, thanks to an impressive 16.1 percent increase in shipments year-over-year. Gartner has Asus at the number four spot with Acer in fifth, while they're both joint-fifth in IDC's figures. Apple could be about to buck the trend of PC decline again, but we won't find out the full figures until the Mac maker reports its earnings later this month.