iPad popularity leads to reduction in 2010 PC sales forecast

PC era over

The popularity of the iPad and other tablets could be the beginning of the end of the PC era. Image: CC ViNull/Flickr

PC sales worldwide are growing, but at a much slower rate than predicted. The Apple iPad and other tablet PCs are whittling away at 2010 PC sales, and analysts expect the trend to continue. Increasing use of technologies such as hosted virtual desktops in the business world is another signal that the PC era is coming to an end.

Tablets take big bite out of 2010 PC sales

The global 2010 PC sales forecast was cut by a popular tech research firm Gartner on Monday.  The revision downward in PC sales numbers was made due to the huge reception for the Apple’s iPad tablet. Future sales of tablet imitators riding on the iPad’s coattails are also expected to cut into PC sales going forward. After previously forecasting that 2010 PC sales would increase by 17.9 percent over 2009, Gartner analysts now say the increase over last year will be just 14.3 percent. Gartner also scaled back projections for PC sales in 2011 from 18.1 percent growth to just 15.9 percent. Tablets are expected to displace 10 percent of total PC sales by 2014.

Why PC sales are declining

Apple’s iPad is the latest disruption to growth in PC sales that have suffered from an uncertain business climate and weak employment. The iPad is already outselling Apple’s Macintosh computers. A Gartner analyst said that even though PC’s are regarded as necessities, the industry’s focus on increasing volume by decreasing price and quality has hampered its ability to innovate. Earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs compared the migration from PCs to tablets to the era when family cars displaced farmer’s trucks in the 20th century.

PC era over?

PC sales are being further eroded by the emergence of hosted virtual desktops (HVDs). Businesses prefer HVDs because employees can use cheap terminals connected to a virtual machine running on a back-end server. With HVDs, IT departments can deploy apps and fix operating systems without having to fiddle with individual units. Big business providers such as HP and Dell are expected to take a major hit as this trend gains momentum. Microsoft, which sells 85 percent of Windows on new PCs, will also have to adapt.

Sources

Computerworld

Apple Insider

San Francisco Chronicle

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