Never a good feeling starting a new day with distressing news, but the state of affairs of the notebook market leaves little room for glee. The year is still new but the hardware vendors are predicting doom.

Just a few months back there was cause for some optimism — what with the retirement of Windows XP coming around, and all that. But the decline of the PC hardware industry continues at breakneck speed, with not just desktops, but notebooks and ultrabooks also falling into the ring of fire.

Smartphones and tablets are cutting into market share at a brisk pace.

And this has led to some rather pessimistic forecasts from all the big vendors for 2014. These include giants like HP, ASUS, Sony, Samsung and Toshiba. Basically everyone this side of Lenovo.

According to DisplaySearch, the top nine notebook makers, together, will probably manage to sell just around 134 million units this year.

This is a fair bit down from 152 million as was predicted earlier.

A number of issues are playing their part here, obviously, but the delay of Intel Broadwell lineup of CPUs is not really helping matters. There are also talks of lower priced notebooks (think $299 and lower) with screen sizes between 14 and 15.6 inches.

But these are only expected to mark their arrival after June, cutting into marketing time for the year.

An absolute bulk of licensing revenue for Windows comes from the sales of PCs, desktops and notebooks, and if things keep on faltering like this, there is every chance that vendors will be forced towards some drastic measures like mergers or going out of business altogether.

A radical change in the PC hardware landscape can, then, not entirely be discounted.

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