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Analyst firm Canalys reports the global PC and tablet shipments and market share of various manufacturers
Canalys recently reported that global client PC shipments rose 12% year on year in Q2 2012. Growth in tablets more than compensated for disappointing sales of Ultrabooks.
The new iPad had the biggest single impact on growth rates in the quarter, but Asus and Samsung made progress with their Transformer and Galaxy Tab product lines. Total tablet shipments increased 75% to 24 million units, representing 22% of all PCs.
“Reports that poor economic conditions and the wait for Windows 8 hurt the PC industry this quarter do not tell the whole story,” said Tom Evans, Canalys Research Analyst. “The PC industry is performing well and 2012 is shaping up to be a record year. Vendors with innovative products will reap the rewards.”
Apple reclaimed the overall lead with an estimated 19% share of global PC shipments, helped by strong iPad sales.
“There is now a large base of replacement buyers that simply must have the latest Apple product, and the decision to continue shipping the iPad 2 at lower price points has opened up new customers, for example in education,” Evans said.
“One drawback of the stand-out retina display in the new iPad,” Evans added, “is the increased storage demanded by HD content. An upgrade, without a big price increase, is a must for the next generation of product.”
Samsung was the leading Android tablet vendor in Q2, Canalys reported, saying that the Korean electronics giant more than doubled its Galaxy Tab shipments compared to a year ago.
Canalys said that Samsung remains Apple’s chief challenger in tablets, but added that Asus made the biggest gains this quarter, particularly in the US, following the launch of the TF300 at a sub-$400 price point. It is now the third largest tablet vendor globally.
“Joining forces with Google to produce the sub-$200 Google Nexus 7 will further strengthen the role of Asus in this market,” Canalys research analyst Pin Chen Tang said. “Amazon must now launch a more powerful replacement for the Kindle Fire, and expand internationally, or see its pad business fail.”
Canalys estimated that shipments of the Kindle Fire were below 500,000 in Q2, down significantly compared to previous quarters.
Microsoft Windows and Ultrabooks
In contrast to pads, Windows PC shipments continued to disappoint, Canalys said.
Ultrabooks have not hit the price points that could excite large numbers of buyers, and the share of the overall market taken by Windows fell to a new low of 73%.
Intel’s share also hit an all-time low, falling below 70%.
But against this dark background there were some bright points, Canalys said: Lenovo continued to gain share, while Acer improved too.
Perhaps the biggest talking point of the quarter, Canalys said, was Microsoft’s decision to launch its own pads – the Surface and Surface Pro.
“The information available to date suggests the prices of both will be too high to capture significant market share, and a direct sales approach will prove inadequate. We expect the Surface pads to have a similar impact on the PC industry as the Zune did in portable music players,” commented Canalys analyst Tim Coulling.
Canalys has advised PC vendors (Microsoft’s OEMs) to postpone launches of Windows RT pads until Microsoft rethinks the high license fee.
Chris Jones, Canalys VP and principal analyst, added: “Microsoft has upset some partners by bringing its own hardware to market. Marketing, distributing and servicing such hardware profitably is hard. Once the Surface makes a material dent in Microsoft’s PL, it will need to repair relationships with PC vendors, who are already preparing lists of demands.”
Canalys does not expect the launch of Windows 8 to arrest Microsoft’s market share decline until Q3 2013 at the earliest, despite a launch budget that will guarantee attention during Q4.
Canalys recommended that Microsoft helps its OEMs hit mainstream price points for Windows 8 touch-screen products.
The analyst firm suggested that Microsoft subsidise touch panel production costs by $50 to $100 per unit to kick-start the market.
Intel pledged to invest $300m in Ultrabook ecosystem players, but there is no indication, as yet, that Microsoft is prepared to make a comparable commitment to the PC supply chain, Canalys said.