The PC market is down; we all know this. This year’s third quarter was, according to Gartner (News - Alert), the PC market’s worst back-to-school quarter since 2008. Meanwhile, tablet sales are way up to the point that they have been topping desktop and laptop sales for a little while now. However, new data from Canalys suggests that the PC/tablet tipping point is at hand and tablets will soon be the standard computing device.
Indeed, 2014 will see tablets account for 50 percent, or possibly more, of all PC shipments around the world.
What’s really interesting, though, is the split Canalys predicts within the tablet camp: Tablets built on Google’s Android OS will collectively account for 65 percent of all tablets shipped, while Apple’s (News - Alert) iPad line will account for 30 percent of the market. In other words, it seems history is destined to repeat itself and Apple will retain marginal market share of another market it helped create. But raw market share isn’t everything, as Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling points out — far from it.
“Apple is one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom,” wrote Coulling. “Premium products attract high value consumers; for Apple, remaining highly profitable and driving revenue from its entire ecosystem is of greater importance than market share statistics.”
But what about Apple’s old nemesis, Microsoft (News - Alert)? Canalys predicts the company will only have about five percent of the tablet market next year, where it will likely stay if it can’t drive app creation.
If Microsoft can manage its tablets properly going forward, though, there’s no reason it can’t still make a profit. After all, Canalys expects that 285 million tablets will ship in 2014, which would see Microsoft shipping about 14 million of its own units. Meanwhile, the total number of tablet shipments is expected to hit 396 million units by 2017.