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A post-PC world? Heck no, says research firm

Mar 11, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

While Apple CEO Steve Jobs and his retinue of media followers are claiming we live in a “post-PC world,” that's far from the case, according to IHS iSuppli. In fact, global PC shipments were up 14 percent last year, hitting a record level of 345.4 million units, the research firm says.

Mesmerized by last week's launch of the Apple iPad 2 (right) and those who queued up today waiting to buy one, many journalists are repeating Apple's claims that we now live in a "post-PC world." But that misses the real story, or so suggests a release by IHS iSuppli.

While sales of tablet devices to consumers might indeed be booming, shipments of PCs — especially those fusty old desktops — are also faring fine, the research firm says. During the fourth quarter of 2010, global PC shipments amounted to 93.1 million units, blowing past the previous high of 88.9 million (a record set in the fourth quarter of 2009), according to IHI iSuppli.

IHS iSuppli says sales in 2010's fourth quarter represented a 5.7 percent increase from the previous quarter, and a 4.7 percent increase from 2009. The firm adds that it expects the worldwide PC business will soon become a market generating sales of 100 million units per quarter.

Q4 2010 worldwide PC shipment market share
(unit shipments in thousands)

Source: IHS iSuppli
(Click to enlarge)

Matthew Wilkins, IHS principal analyst for compute platforms, stated, "Back in the depths of the 2009 recession, the PC industry would have been happy if 2010 brought single-digit growth in shipments. However, with the market coming back strong amid growth in the mid-teens, the PC industry will look back on 2010 as a year that exceeded expectations."

While notebooks have been driving the PC market in recent years, the record demand during the fourth quarter was actually thanks to the desktop segment, he added: "Desktop sales in the fourth quarter were buoyed by strong corporate demand. The corporate PC segment continues to outperform the consumer market as companies replace systems with newer, faster, more efficient computers."

Tablet sales are definitely impacting some PC vendors, however. According to IHS iSuppli, Acer experienced a "precipitous" 12.9 drop during the fourth quarter, attributable to its heavy reliance on consumer-focused netbooks (like the Aspire One Happy shown above left) and notebooks.

2010 worldwide PC shipment market share
(unit shipments in thousands)

Source: IHS iSuppli
(Click to enlarge)

Less heavily committed to portables, Dell saw its fourth-quarter shipments remain steady, and managed to beat Acer for overall 2010 market share by 0.7 percentage points. HP, meanwhile, easily retained its number one sales position and experienced 13.6 percent growth during the fourth quarter, says IHS iSuppli.

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