When Intel outed the Ultrabook concept last year, it hoped the slim laptops would be the saviour of the PC market, clawing back sales it had lost to Apple's svelte offerings. The latest figures show, however, that all is not well in the land of PC.

Figures from research companies Gartner and IDC put sales of PCs at 87.5m and 86.7m units respectively. To put that in context, PC sales were at around 93 million units in 2010, so that's a pretty dramatic slump of 6 million units in less than 2 years. Why the fall? Well, over the last 2 years, smartphone and tablet sales have shot up while PCs have been left with pretty much no innovation to make people go out and upgrade. Also, the long-awaited launch of Windows 8 has had people delaying that latest shiny laptop 'till it's got Metro on it.

These results aren't so much of a surprise, as it's continuing a trend that's been going on for a while. The surprise, and the real kick in the teeth to Intel, is that the Ultrabooks it's invested £200 million in have failed to take off. You've gotta feel sorry for them - pouring time, money, cash and some pretty awesome tech into products, just for people to turn their noses up in favour of an iPad. I like ultrabooks: they're everything the laptop's wanted to be for a while, as if all the PC manufacturers suddenly realised design does matter. Still, the wave of IvyBridge-powered ultrabooks has only just kicked off, so Intel's got one last chance to claw back some market share. Here's hoping it does -- I'm tired of Apple ruling the roost with the Air. [Gartner and IDC via Guardian]

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