Tablets and PCs can be viewed as a continuous market for several reasons. First, starting to make inroads in the enterprise, the traditional stronghold of the PC. Finally, Microsoft is explicitly trying to link the two markets with Windows 8, an operating system that straddles the tablet and PC markets.
When combining the tablet and PC markets, a clear leader emerges: Apple. The company shipped a combined 27 million iPads and iMacs last quarter. Its closest competitors, Lenovo and Dell, each shipped just under 15 million units total.
In fact, on their own, Apple iPad shipments in the fourth quarter (almost 23 million), far outpaced the combined tablet and PC shipments of every other manufacturer.
Apple has jumped to the lead in this combined tablet and PC computer market on the back of the tablet market’s growth. iPads accounted for 85 per cent of Apple’s computer sales last quarter.
On it own, the PC market has been basically flat since 2010 and annual shipments actually fell last year, the first time that has happened since 2001.
Of the more traditional computer manufacturers, only Asus, which manufactures Google’s Nexus tablets, and Lenovo, which shipped 800,000 tablets last quarter, appear to have gotten any traction in the tablet market. That’s bad news for computer manufacturers because eye-popping growth isn’t going to return to the PC market anytime soon.
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