Market analysis firm IDC said that the launch of Windows 8 and the "excitement generated" as the result of Intel's ultrabooks will result in strong PC sales growth in the second half of the year.
PC shipments in 2011 still clocked up a growth of 1.8 per cent, IDC revealed, but the regional picture was more complicated with strong growth in developing economies versus weak mature markets such as Europe and the US.
Europe in particular saw a tough year in 2011 with PC sales down 9 per cent over 2010. IDC says that 2012 will see 5 per cent growth worldwide, considerably higher than last year and most of this appearing in the second half.
IDC research analyst Jay Chou said Windows 8 and ultrabooks were helpful for "recapturing the relevance of the PC" but that the year ahead and next year will still be problematic for Microsoft and the PC ecosystem.
Chou warned that the transition to tablet-like behaviour would "likely entail a period of trial and error, thus the market will likely see modest growth in the near term."
IDC's forecast showed that the firm expects a very slightly growth in mature markets, with desktop sales down and notebook sales up. In the latter case IDC says 2012 will see 104.1 million notebooks sold in mature markets compared to 99.4 in 2011.
So it's not setting the world on fire but pretty good news for the PC channel compared to the hardship of 2011.