A total of 367.2 million PCs are predicted to ship worldwide this year, according to IDC, representing a miniscule 0.9% growth over 2011.

This is worrisome for Microsoft, who dominate on the desktop, but are finding it more challenging in the burgeoning smartphone and tablet markets.

The importance of Windows 8 and its Metro-style interface is therefore outsized as a crowbar to pry open these newer, faster-growing markets for Microsoft.

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