Personal computer sales are doing even worse than expected.
PC shipments plunged 10.8 percent in the third quarter, compared to the same period one year ago, according to IDC, echoing a similar finding by Gartner. The number widely surpassed projections of a 9.2 percent decline, IDC stated.
Crawford Del Prete, chief research officer of the firm, told CNBC last week that the most recent numbers show that the PC business is venturing into "terra incognita" — Latin for "unknown territory."
This particular drop is largely attributable to Microsoft's move in July of offering free updates to its Windows 10 platform, Del Prete said. While the move is intended to boost long-term consumer engagement, free updates wiped out the need for many customers to buy a new computer.
"The impact of that on the marketplace is something that we are just understanding now," Del Prete said in a phone interview with CNBC.
The overall decline in PC usage and sales has persisted for several years, thanks to a shift to smartphones and tablets. With competing methods to go online, the urgency to upgrade personal computers has faded, Del Prete said.
It also remains to be seen whether or not Microsoft's free upgrades will help drive futures sales in the long term.