Shipments of personal computers fell nearly 11 percent last quarter, to the shock of almost no one. Sales have been declining for so long — 14 consecutive quarters — that it is becoming harder to remember a time when PCs ruled the tech world.
The prolonged slump helps explain why so many of the leading PC makers are scrambling to continue remaking themselves in a world dominated by mobile devices operated with touch, rather than mouse clicks.
Hewlett-Packard is splitting into two entities. Lenovo has branched out into smartphones by acquiring Motorola Mobility. And, in the latest sign of the changes roiling the business, Dell, the world’s third-largest PC company by shipments, is in advanced talks to acquire EMC, the big data-storage company. Such a deal could accelerate a long-running effort by Dell to diversify its business.