PC unit sales could fall as much as 5 percent to 10 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, according to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek's latest research note, published late last night.
Misek sees a troublesome time ahead for PC builders following a single-digit drop in PC shipments in the second quarter, particularly with Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
The report comes after he estimates what was a low drop in second-quarter PC shipments.
It also follows only a month after the two PC makers saw their target prices cut with analysts suggesting: "Windows 8 will prove to be a disappointment, at least out of the gate."
Misek suggests that Microsoft -- following its Surface tablet announcement earlier this month -- will compete with its own OEM partners in a scenario that will likely "confuse end users." He adds that Huawei could expand to Windows 8 tablets, as well as Windows Phone 8 smartphones, which will likely "create pressure on HP and Dell."
While the tablet and ultrabook markets appear separated and distinguishable from one another, the Windows 8 hybrid of part tablet, part notebook will likely be approached by OEMs "cautiously." The Windows tablet space is still up in the air and will be for some time -- understandably -- as Microsoft tries to take on Apple.
In an earlier note Misek had said that Windows 8 could "accelerate tablet cannibalization as the operating system focuses on touch," despite the consensus thinking Windows 8 will boost PC sales.
Windows 8 will more likely impact the consumer market than the enterprise, as "users of conventional non-touch notebooks and desktops could be confused by much of the new user interface."
All in all, Misek signs off his cheery note with: "Windows 8 is unlikely to drive much of a positive consumer PC upgrade cycle in the fourth-quarter."
Misek cut price estimates on Dell, which he lowered to $13 from $15, and HP down to $21 from $23 -- only weeks after reducing his target price to $23 from $30.
This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "PC unit sales could see 10 percent drop in Q3: analyst."