Summary Box: PC shipments dip in fourth quarter

WEAKENING MARKET: Personal computer shipments ended last year on a down note, according to two reports released Wednesday. Gartner Inc. estimated worldwide shipments for October to December fell 1.4 percent from the same time a year earlier. IDC pegged the decrease at 0.5 percent.

THE PROBLEM: PC makers aren’t releasing enough compelling new products to counter the growing popularity of smartphones and computer tablets. Parts shortages caused by October floods in Thailand also hurt the market.

THE OUTLOOK: Things might not pick up until the second half of this year when Windows 8 is to be released.