IDC and Gartner numbers: an apparent total hodge-podge

We often refer to the so called research firms IDC and Gartner while talking about market share, shipments for a quarter, etc. These numbers though most of the time make sense (like Apple and Android devices dominate the market in Smartphones and they are almost head to head in market share in the US, etc.) have been proven to be off the actual sales figures the companies report (sometimes the disparity in these firms' figures and the actual numbers have been in tens of millions of devices). While these firms have been enjoying the benefit of the doubt from the industry analysts and watchers so far, there has always been skepticism on their methodologies and actual figures. 

So, the mantra became, preserve the growth rates; to hell with the actual numbers. Even the growth rates are fiction... The industry itself was aware of these issues, but agreed to maintain the fiction because it was convenient.
— A former IDC researcher via Fortune

Fortune posted an article, pretty much confirming most of our doubts, that these firms have been making up their numbers and some sleazy tech companies have been playing along all this time as these firms sucked up to them in terms of reporting favorable numbers. This is such a shame and not a big surprise unfortunately. The latest mishap that brought this issue to light more was after the Apple financial call, where Apple announced that they sold more than 4.4 million Macs in the last quarter and this represented a growth in two digits (greater than 10%) compared to the quarter of the previous year. Ok so a very good quarter for Apple Macs, but unfortunately for IDC and Gartner, this contradicted almost entirely, the sales figures they published, where they had Apple having a 1.2 to 1.5% decline in sales this quarter compared to the last year. This was just not a small discrepancy in statistics and number crunching but a big goof up and now we know why: they are not real sales numbers, but are someone's fictitious figures! I don't know about other sites, these two firms are blacklisted from mine from now on... 

IDC and Gartner (not shown here) had sales figures for Apple Macs for Q2, 2014 that were off by a huge margin from the actual sales numbers Apple announced (Source: via Fortune)

IDC and Gartner (not shown here) had sales figures for Apple Macs for Q2, 2014 that were off by a huge margin from the actual sales numbers Apple announced (Source: via Fortune)