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Traditional computer sales eroded by love of tablets

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Industry trackers on Wednesday reported that sales of traditional personal computers continued to wither in the recently ended quarter as tastes shifted to tablets. 

Pupils use tablets during courses in a classroom at a school in Saint-Brieuc, western France on September 12, 2013.

A total of 80.3 million personal computers were shipped worldwide in the third quarter of this year, an 8.6 percent drop from the same period in 2012, according to Gartner.

It was the six consecutive quarter of decline for personal computer sales as buyers increasingly turn to tablet computers for accessing the Internet.

"The third quarter is often referred to as the 'back-to-school' quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

"Consumers' shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets."

The trend is being heightened by expanding availability of economically-priced tablets powered by Google-backed Android software provide free to device makers by the California-based Internet titan, according to Gartner.

Market figures released the same day by International Data Corporation pegged the year-over-year decline in the quarter at 7.6 percent in what was described as comparatively good news given that the drop in PC sales was forecast to be around nine percent.

A slight rise in businesses buying computers and interest in machines powered by new Windows software improved sales somewhat, according to IDC.

"Despite being a little ahead of forecast, and the work that's being done on new designs and integration of features like touch, the third quarter results suggest there's still a high probability that we will see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014," said IDC Worldwide PC Trackers vice president Loren Loverde.

China's Lenovo was the top PC maker, with a slight lead over US-based Hewlett Packard, according to Gartner and IDC.

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