Gartner: Tablets sap PC demand; PC ecosystem cringes

Gartner: Tablets sap PC demand; PC ecosystem cringes

Summary: Gartner says: "We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales."


Gartner on Thursday cut its PC demand outlook as consumers increasingly opt for tablets.

According to the research firm, global PC shipments will hit 387.8 million in 2011, up 10.5 percent from 2010. Now that forecast represents good growth, but Gartner was expecting a 15.9 percent increase.

In 2012, PC shipments are projected to be 440.6 million units, up 13.6 percent from 2011. Gartner had been expecting 2012 unit growth of 14.8 percent.

The projections seem to indicate that tablets do have some cannibalization effect on laptops. Gartner analyst George Shiffer said in a statement:

We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets. We once thought that mobile PC growth would continue to be sustained by consumers buying second and third mobile PCs as personal devices. However, we now believe that consumers are not only likely to forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of the mobile PCs they retain as they adopt media tablets and other mobile PC alternatives.

However, the enterprise market is expected to deliver double-digit growth in 2011 and 2012 due to a strong upgrade cycle. But tablets are delaying some PC upgrades.

You can expect the tablet as PC replacement drumbeat to pick up. At Morgan Stanley's technology investment conference on Wednesday, Microsoft CFO Peter Klein had a notable exchange with analyst Adam Holt. Here's the recap: Holt: If you look around the room like this, you see a lot of tablets and you see a lot of devices that I think people probably bought themselves.

Klein: I see a lot of laptops, too.

Holt: We see a lot of laptops as well. The question is, do you think there's any impact from either the bring-from-home device in the corporate landscape or the tablet in the corporate landscape in terms of impacting the trajectory of the upgrade?

Klein: Yes. There's no question that tablets provide a really exciting opportunity to the market all out. I think we've seen more of that in sort of consumer secondary device than we've seen it in businesses, although you are starting to see it come into business.

I think that going forward that's really an opportunity for us. When I think about the strength of Windows and what Windows can bring to the tablet form factor, particularly in businesses, whether that's access to mission-critical applications, whether that's different UIs like a pen, and the ability to write and draw on the tablet, I think that's a real interesting opportunity. So I think it's nascent but incredibly interesting going forward how tablets are used within businesses.

Topics: Hardware, CXO, IT Priorities, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • 387.8 million

    Cringes with 10% growth
    • What's the competition doing?

      Tablets? Macs? Smartphones?
      Richard Flude
  • Uh, Ok.

    I'm not seeing that. Even with his statement that [i]Windows[/i] tablets (not Android?) will help spur tablet sales within the eneterprise, I'm still not fully buying it.
    Will Farrell
    • RE: Gartner: Tablets sap PC demand; PC ecosystem cringes

      @Will Farrell
      Well exactly. I am also not able to buy into that.
      Ram U
  • Fails smell test

    Sometimes you can tell by the way something is phrased that there is a conscious attempt to bamboozle going on. In this case it's the noise coming from Microsoft that the world need not worry about the fate of Mighty Microsoft, because Windows is all about -business- and -business- will wait for Windows to arrive on tablets... however long that takes.

    Did the home market shift to linux when I wasn't looking? Since when is Microsoft 'all business, all the time'? I say that's bunk. Its only virtue is that it sounds slightly plausible, although time's a wastin' if Microsoft doesn't want to get left behind.

    By making this noise, is the CFO of Microsoft ceding the "consumer market" for tablets to Apple, or to some combination of Apple and Android? People following the stock might want to know that. "Microsoft pulls in horns, retreats to enterprise segment" makes a great headline.
    Robert Hahn
  • RE: Gartner: Tablets sap PC demand; PC ecosystem cringes

    Gartner might actually be right once due to random chance, but I don't think it's this time.<br><br>Seriously, why do you even bother with their "reports". The people who need to create or usew computers will continue with desktops, laptops and netbooks. Those with more money than sense will also buy toys, but it really doesn't effect the main market.

    A more interesting column could be made on how many of Gartner's predictions were even close ;-)
  • Microsoft need to execute well

    It seems plausible to me that slates are negatively impacting PC sales, especially if that includes netbooks. I know a few people who had been interested in netbooks before the iPad came out, but who bought iPads instead. The satisfaction levels seems to be rather low, though.

    Microsoft may have an opportunity to push semi-convertible Windows 8 slates (something like the Acer Iconia W500, but I think the keyboard should double as a cover) to people interested in both slates and netbooks. I think the keys are to (a) have a solid touch-centric UI and app ecosystem, (b) keep power consumption low (i.e. use Arm), (c) keep the form factor small and (d) ensure it's as good as a netbook in 'laptop mode'.
    • keyboard as the cover?


      Could you not get the same effect by holding a note/net book upside down?

      • RE: Gartner: Tablets sap PC demand; PC ecosystem cringes


        I'm not sure I can explain it without referring to the W500:

        The W500, it's a slate that docks into a base with a keyboard. When removed from the base, it's a slate. When attached to the base, it's something like a note-/netbook.

        The base looks like it's about the same size as the slate, but in addition to docking, I think the base should attach the other way round, as a protective screen cover, and so there's only one thing to carry. Maybe it does, actually, but from the photos it doesn't look like it.
  • Could you not also write an article...

    ...entitled, smartphones sap tablet demand?

    My Optimus V android does it all....
  • RE: Gartner: Tablets sap PC demand; PC ecosystem cringes

    Yea, with this one, I have to agree with the comments of everyone else here. The main reason is what the PC and laptops, notebooks do in the business/corporate world.

    I really don't see, anytime soon especially, that what Gartner has predicted is going to be coming true.

    We are talking about their #'s and even those are pretty drastic where 10.6% and 13.8% growth has been reported and predicted respectively. I mean that is definitely something that share holders need not worry about yea ?

    It's not about what the 'tablet' looks like, or can do, and how cool of a factor it might add to your mobile computing, but I believe the basic fact that the PC has the appeal of being the best fit in a corporate world, where we sit in cubes, work on a desk, ... I can-not see doing that without the PC,

    Now .. that said, there is something interesting to point out though, for example taking iPad into consideration. Alot of schools are probably planning on providing teachers with iPads, for daily use? why? well... maybe because it is something that suits their specific profession more so than anything else. Replacing a book in the teacher's hands, easier to carry, holding so much more memory, eliminating the use of carrying several books around for each different class they might instruct, ... in that field, i can definitely see the iPad taking over , yes.