Analysts cut 2012 PC, chip shipment forecasts

NEW YORK — What once looked like a good year for computers and chips has now fizzled, say researchers.

IHS iSuppli said Friday that global semiconductor chip shipments are set to fall by 0.1 percent this year. That’s down from a previous forecast for growth of up to 3 percent. It’s the first annual decline since recession-colored 2009.

ISuppli said shipments slowed noticeably compared to normal seasonal patterns in the April to June period. The weak global economy is one culprit, but most of the slowdown is in chips for PCs, iSuppli said.

IDC, another research firm, detects the slowdown in the PC market, too. It expects PC shipments to grow just 0.9 percent this year. That’s down from the firm’s forecast of 5 percent growth issued in March.

IDC says sales have been weak so far this year, and a bounce from the imminent release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 may not be as strong as it had expected.

“Buyers must acclimate themselves to an operating system that is a dramatic departure from existing PC paradigms. The PC ecosystem faces some work to properly educate the market,” said analyst Jay Chou.

On Wednesday, Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s largest maker of PCs, said its PC sales fell by 10 percent from the same time last year. CEO Meg Whitman attributed the decline to fierce price competition, a growing preference for tablet computers and smartphones, and postponed purchases among buyers waiting for the release of Windows 8 on October 26.

Both IDC and iSuppli predict better luck for the high-tech industry in 2013. IDC sees PC shipments growing 6.5 percent. ISuppli projects a 9 percent jump in chip shipments, provided the global economy manages to avoid obstacles like slowing growth in China and fiscal turmoil in the U.S.

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