My, how times change! It is hard to fathom that a single product has managed to unbalance the notebook market to such an extent that some are saying there is no coming back from.

Yes, tablets. These new kind of devices have eaten into the sales of notebooks like there is no tomorrow.

According to the latest numbers provided by analyst firm IHS (iSuppli), the second quarter of 2013 was the worst in more than 10 years when it comes to shipments of mobile PC units like notebooks, ultrabooks and netbooks.

To put things into perspective, this was the first time since 2002 when a sequential decline was recorded. This quarter that just ended, global shipments went down 6.9 percent.

Technology enthusiasts among you may be aware that shipments normally rise in Q2 of a year, as the first quarter is usually considered the slow season. Same is the case for the third quarter, and it is the important shopping season in Q4 that sees bulk of the action.

Nevertheless, this year’s second quarter showed a sharper sequential drop than the highest rise of 6.5 percent. In other words, things are getting worse for notebook vendors.

At this point in time, most are probably hoping that the third quarter does not turn out even worse. A lot depends on the back-to-school season, but whether it helps enough remains to be seen. Surprises are never far away in the technology industry, after all.

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