IDC and Gartner: US PC sales drop as tablets shake things up

It's time again to look at the rapidly changing face of home computing. The last time we got an IDC report on US PC sales it showed generally rosy figures, with everyone other than Dell growing and Apple making a huge jump. This time we have numbers from both IDC and Gartner, and while they don't agree on everything, it's clear things are rather less positive. Overall growth in this quarter is negative (6.6 percent decline for Gartner, 4.8 for IDC) and Apple is now in position number five, dropping from number three, with the other top four comprised of HP, Dell, Toshiba, and Acer -- though Toshiba and Acer swap places as you move from IDC to Gartner. Both reports cite tablet sales (i.e. the iPad) as being at least partly responsible for the decline in traditional computer sales, a trend that's predicted to continue in 2011. Based on what we saw at CES, we'd say that's a safe bet.