Both IDC and Gartner pinned their predictions of a slowing rate of decline on purchases of computers by companies as they began to roll out Windows 10 later this year. "As we head toward the end of 2016, things should start picking up in terms of Windows 10 pilots turning into actual PC purchases," Chou said.
If that doesn't occur, well, the numbers will get even worse. Many analysts believe that large migrations to Windows 10 won't start until next year.
Under the best of circumstances, the PC business will remain in the 250 million to 260 million range through 2020, the furthest out IDC forecasted, said Chou. That's a far cry from 2011's "Peak PC," when OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) shipped about 375 million machines.
This year's first quarter was the 17th straight contraction, a stretch three times longer than the only previous sustained decline, which was for a five-quarter span in 2001-2002.
"It is certainly pretty awful," Chou said of the business's spiral.
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