Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
For the first time ever, quarterly smartphone sales outpaced PC sales in the fourth quarter of 2011.In fact, it wasn’t even close.
Mobile market research firm Canalys estimated that 158.5 million smartphones were sold in the last quarter, compared with 120.2 million personal computers.
Canalys has never seen this before.
Unlike some other research firms, Canalys counts tablets as PCs. If you took tablets out of the mix, only 93.7 million personal computers were sold.
The winners in this shift are Apple, which has captured most of the profits from the smartphone boom and completely dominates tablets, and Google, whose Android OS is the market share leader for smartphones.
The big loser is Microsoft. Five years ago, the PC was the main way people connected to the Internet, and more than 95% of PCs ran Windows. Now, the PC isn’t even in the majority of new Internet-connected devices sold.
Microsoft has put a ton of energy and innovation into Windows 8, which is supposed to help the company claw back some tablet sales from Apple’s iPad. But this statistic shows how Windows Phone is just as important.
And Windows Phone is dead last in market share, with 1.6% global market share, according to Canalys. Only “other” comes in lower.