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Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed an interesting stat on today’s earnings call: iPads outsold desktop PCs in the fourth quarter of 2012.Apple reported 15.4 million iPads sold.
Cook was citing IDC figures for desktop PC sales.
That’s a stunning development. Two decades ago, Microsoft’s mission statement was “a PC on every desk and in every home.” That mission statement no longer makes sense. Computing has gone totally mobile, and while Windows still ships on most of the portable PCs in the world, the iPad is coming up incredibly fast.
That doesn’t even take smartphones into account — Apple sold 37 million iPhones during the quarter, too. Add Android phones into the mix and Windows probably made up less than 50% of all Internet connected devices sold in the last quarter of 2011. (Reliable Android stats are hard to come by, as Cook noted on the call.)
Another way of looking at it: the iPad is now equal to 17% of the overall PC market, which Gartner pegged at 92.2 million units in the last quarter of 2012. In June, it was at 11%. A year ago, it was 7%.
No wonder Microsoft is making such a big bet on tablets with Windows 8.
The problem is, by the time Windows 8 comes out, the iPad will have been on the market, unopposed, for more than two years. If current trends continue, it will be equal to about 25% or 30% of the PC market.
Right now, there is no tablet market. There’s an iPad market.
Microsoft and its PC partners are going to have to spend an awful lot on advertising to change that perception.