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Market research firm Gartner Inc. has reduced its PC shipment forecast for this year and next, predicting the growing popularity of tablet computers such as Apple Inc.'s iPad will cut into the demand for consumer laptops.

Gartner said Thursday that it expects global PC shipments of 387.8 million in 2011, up 10.5 percent from 2010. Previously, Gartner predicted 15.9 percent growth.

In 2012, Gartner now thinks 440.6 million PCs will be shipped, up 13.6 percent from 2011. Its earlier estimate called for 14.8 percent growth.

Gartner said that while consumer laptop shipments have climbed an average of 40 percent annually in the past five years, the availability of Internet access on various mobile devices means that consumers are not as tied to laptops for getting on the Web.

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