Tablets are not killing PCs

A top analyst has poured cold water on the concept that tablets are killing off PCs.

Mike Feibus, the principal analyst at TechKnowledge Strategies, has told Beta News that while PC sales were under performing, shipments of these new things, media tablets, skyrocketed and it is a trick of humans to believe that one thing has caused the other.

As Dr Who once said “I love humans – they tend to see links where there are none there.”

Feibus said that humanity’s ability to draw a line connecting two points in space is a trait that enables them to discover great things. However making links can land people in deep trouble if we’re not careful. For example if you shoot the president, Jodi Foster will not get into bed with you.

What Feibus said what really happened was the PC industry finally caught up with the financial calamities that cut into sales and profits for many businesses around the globe. PC shipments grew in the first full year of the recession and things got better from there.

But in the third quarter growth suddenly plunged to just 7.6 percent. That period also happened to be the first full quarter of iPad shipments.

This resulted in claims from many, particularly those who love to drink Apple coolaid, to claim that the Tablet had killed off the PC.

What they missed was the fact that they looked at the wrong figures to see what caused the fall. It was not the iPad which has caused the industry blip, but the introduction of Windows 7 several months earlier.

In the third quarter of 2009, Microsoft began shipping Windows 7 and after 18 months of Vista punters wanted new computers built around a quality OS. This caused the market to grow in the middle of a recession. PC shipments climbed an impressive 22.1 percent that quarter, compared to just 0.5 percent in third quarter 2009.

So it was not that the quarter that tablets came in were bad for the PC, it was just that the prior quarters were so good.

In the third quarter of 2010, Apple built the iPad and people bought it. The PC ecosystem, meanwhile, “blew through its vein of new and shiny over the preceding nine months and had nothing much exciting to offer for the second half of 2010”. This year it had the same problem there was nothing new here and people didn’t need to buy it.

Feibus said that the only way we can be certain if the PC is dead is if Windows 8 tanks. He does not think it likley. Windows 8 is promising to be released with some sexy new hardware, touch interfaces and long battery life, he said.

It is quite a possibility that the industry will be talking about the death of media tablets, as surging Windows 8 PC sales spark another upgrade cycle.