Windows 8,1

Research firms IDC and Gartner reported this week that worldwide PC shipments declined again but this time the drop was lower than expect, in a possible sign that the PC hardware industry could be recovering.

Gartner stated that PC shipments totaled 79.4 million units in the third quarter, down lost 0.5 percent from the same period a year ago. IDC's separate report claims PC shipments came to 78.5 million units worldwide in the third quarter, which it say was a 1.7 percent decline, but that number is much better than IDC's projections of a 4.1 percent decline.

In the US, shipments were actually up by 4.2 percent, according to Gartner, and by 4.3 percent if you believe IDC's numbers. Worldwide, Lenovo is the top PC maker while HP still holds onto the US lead. HP just announced it plans to separate its PC and printer business from its enterprise division, forming two companies, in 2015.

This could be good news for Microsoft as a recovering PC industry also means more devices will be running on its Windows operating systems. That could be reflected in the company's own financials for the last quarter, which it is expected to reveal later in October. What do you think these latest PC shipment numbers mean for the industry in general and for Microsoft in particular?

Source: Gartner, ZDNet