Global PC shipments deteriorate -

Global PC shipments fell by more than 1.4 percent in the last quarter of 2011 thanks to weak demand in Western Europe and the United States.

Beancounters working for analyst group Gartner have added up the numbers and divided by their shoe sizes to work out that after two quarters of positive growth, worldwide PC shipments fell to 92.2 million units in the fourth quarter.

The slide was the worst in Europe, Middle East and Africa where sales fell by 9.6 percent while in the United States shipments dropped 5.9 percent.

Gartner said that there had been good growth in professional markets and from emerging countries, but these had not been enough to compensate for the loses in Europe and the US.

The news was a surprise to other analysts who expected sales in the US to be flat and not in decline.

It was reportedly the worst performance since the fourth quarter of 2008, we guess that was when Mike Myers starred in the Love Guru.

There are lots of scapegoats which could cause sales to fall. There were the floods in Thailand in October, which had triggered hard-disk drive shortages and the fact that consumers don't buy PCs when the Euro is about to collapse.

Of course others, including Reutersclaim that is all because of the game changing tablet and the fact that we are all doing our PC work on our smartphones.

Gartner has pointed out that the floods have had a limited impact on shipments and prices in the fourth quarter. If there is going to be any impact, it says, that would be felt in the first half of 2012.

The market leader for PCs, HP, lost 16.2 percent of its shipments in this quarter. But it thinks it lost all this because the company said it would sell its hardware business. Its rivals were also cost cutting.

On the other hand, China's Lenovo Group showed the strongest quarterly growth with a 23 percent increase in shipments.