The beginning of the end for PCs

Tablet computing is on the rise and if last quater's PC shipments are anything to go by, the impact of the iPad is becoming abundantly clear

In terms of units Windows-based computers made up 78 per cent of all PCs sold in Q1. That was an increase from the 74 per cent in the previous quarter but a decline from 90 per cent a year ago. OS X based computers were about 3.7 per cent, a decline in share both quarter on quarter and year on year, something the company attributed to a transition quarter.

The following chart shows the composition of vendor volumes with tablet and traditional form factor computers included:

iOS computers (i.e iPad) were 11 per cent of the market, declining from 13 per cent last quarter but increasing from Q1 ’11′s 4.2 per cent share. Apple reported that the iPad was not at supply/demand balance and thus could have sold more units.

Amazon’s shipments went down significantly though sell-through was perhaps twice sell-in due to inventory build-up during the previous quarter. Overall, about 5 million Amazon Fire tablets were sold since the product’s launch.

The third significant tablet vendor was Samsung, which sold about 1.6 million tablets, down sequentially but up year on year. Other Android tablets may have shipped another 5 million units.

Overall, Apple remained the top vendor with 14.6 per cent share, followed by HP with 14.1 per cent and Lenovo in third at 10.7per cent. Dell just barely managed to beat Acer with 9 per cent vs. 8.9 per cent.

The impact of the tablet (aka iPad) market is being described in the response to a significant earnings miss by Dell:

Sterne Agee, which admits it probably shouldn’t have upgraded DELL from underperform last week, says it’s notable that the PC maker acknowledged competition from Apple and Google for the first time as part of Tuesday’s dour F1Q report and forecast. Meanwhile, Mizuho calls DELL a “show-me-story for now” in cutting it to neutral and cutting its price target 25 per cent to $15. And ISI snarks “everything is bigger in Texas–including the misses.” It adds while the company “is making the right business-model changes…results will remain ‘chained’ for years (not quarters) to commodity desktops/notebooks, which comprise over half of sales.” - Dow Jones Newswires (Kevin Kingsbury)

And so, two years later, the impact of the iPad is becoming abundantly clear, even to the incumbents.  The resistance and denial was profound. Even on this blog, the agitation and anxiety when the subject of the iPad as disruptor came up was palpable.

Perhaps that is the greatest testament to the disruptive potential of a product.

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