472 Million Smart Phones, 50 Million Tablets and 360 Million PCs

Those kinds of numbers shipping in 2011 mean the end of an era. Hardly any of the smart phones or tablets ship with M$’s software. That leaves M$ with a less than 50% share of IT in 2011. Sure, they bring in $60 billion but the share of units shipped is plunging. All the software running on ARMed smart thingies can run on x86 PCs but “8” is nowhere to be seen so M$ has only a weak response in vapourware. Apart from business desktops and notebooks and servers on LANs, M$ has become a niche player, clinging to the rock. M$ has lost the consumer space largely and the slower growth of shipments shows that.

Some predicted the dead carcass of M$ would rot on the beach for five years at least, but this is looking more like the beast has fallen off a cliff and been washed out to sea. The fall will accelerate when XP users switch to Android or GNU/Linux even on thin clients, more local apps become web apps/cloud apps, more people work at home, more workers bring their personal computing devices to work, and more workers dock their smart phones somehow. I don’t see any downside to tablets and thin clients which take up so little space on desks. I don’t see any way that Wintel can keep ARM out of the desktop/notebook space. I do see all these forces acting against Wintel in the next year or two.

see Worldwide Smartphone Market Expected to Grow 55% in 2011 and Approach Shipments of One Billion in 2015, According to IDC

see iSuppli – Global Tablet Shipments to Rise by Factor of 12 by 2015

see Slowing Consumer Demand Reduces PC Growth for 2011 While Longer-Term Growth Will Remain In Double Digits, According to IDC

“The so-called Wintel era is over with no CPU or OS vendors to be able to dominate the PC, tablet PC or handset markets as they did before, according to Asustek chairman Jonney Shih. The breakup of the Wintel alliance offers a brand new opportunity for system vendors to thrive again in the IT market, Shih said.”

see Wintel era is over, says Asustek chairman

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to 472 Million Smart Phones, 50 Million Tablets and 360 Million PCs

  1. Regardless of the effect of M$’s declining share on personal fortunes the world of IT will be better for it. That is worth some struggle. Further, individual wealth of criminals can be sought in fines for criminal offences. Evidence that an officer of a company deliberately chose to commit illegal acts under the guise of business does not permit them to keep ill-gotten gains. Lots of VIPs even go to jail in addition to paying fines.

  2. Contrarian says:

    “That must mean something.”

    Sure it does. It means that they are in a mature market area. Look up “cash cow” on Google. Markets start, grow, and fade over time. If there is a replacement product, they might fade out almost entirely, for example, pay telephones owned by ATT. PCs (and the OS that goes with them) are fairly mature. The IBM PC is about 30 years old, IIRC. Smart phones and tablets are new, and there is a lot of jockeying for shares. Apple seems to lead the pack, particularly with profitability. No doubt that Microsoft will not make much money in those markets if they make any at all.

    You can go on all day about phones and tablets and non-Intel computers being a replacement for x86 computers, and you may even be right if you live long enough.

    Disliking Microsoft is a waste of time, though. All of the bad guys (in your mind, not mine) who engineered all the mean and nasty acts over the years have tens of millions, hundreds of millions, billions, or even tens of billions of dollars of retained wealth from the experience. If Microsoft went totally out of business tomorrow, none of those guys are going to miss a meal or even a planned trip to some exotic isle. They are fixed for life and can’t be touched. Of course such a collapse might wreck the retirement plans of uncounted millions of workers whose 401K or pension plans are suddenly a lot poorer. But it isn’t going to happen, so don’t feel bad for them.

  3. The units shipped are not growing for M$… That must mean something.

  4. Contrarian says:

    “Sure, they bring in $60 billion but the share of units shipped is plunging…”

    You seem so gleeful about some real or imagined loss of business for Microsoft! Are you more in favor of Linux or just opposed to Microsoft?

    A more realistic view shows a strong growth in phones and tablets and the rise of a whole new business area to service that consumer demand. There is no sharp fall off of demand for PCs though. I think they are apples and grapes and Microsoft still controls the apple market. There are a lot of grapes if you count them individually, but they do not show up as profitably as the apples.

    The profits from the $60B are what show up at the bank and the number of units is just a countable factoid that USA Today might publish down on the lower left corner of the Friday business page.

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