Microsoft Took another hard knock this month when top tech researchers laid much of the blame for dwindling first-quarter PC sales on the beleaguered Windows 8 operating system.

Estimates of first-quarter shipments, from both IDC and Gartner, paint a gloomy picture of the PC industry -- a sector that Microsoft still needs to be strong.

IDC said its estimate of a 14% decrease in worldwide PC shipments is the largest year-over-year decline it has ever seen in its nearly two decades of tracking those numbers. Gartner pegged the global PC downturn at 11%.

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