Is the Whole PC Market Dying as it Nears 30 Because of the iPad? Or is it Just Acer & Dell?

The PC hits the big 3-0 on August 12. And, just as some people feel that their 30th birthday is a significant life inflection point, it looks like 30 is important to the PC too. GeekWire’s Todd Bishop took a look at IDC’s PC shipment figures and asked:

Revenge of the iPad? PC market tanks in first quarter

But, has the iPad really had so much impact that it is starting to dent the sales of the PC in all its forms? It should be noted that the PC has been trying to become mobile from almost the day it entered the world. People hauled those big PCs around for demonstrations, the Osborne-1 and, later, the Compaq Portable made it transportable. Notebooks and, more recently, netbooks continued this trajectory. Some people were shocked when notebook PCs overtook desktop PCs in sales years ago. If the iPad is just the extreme of this trend, perhaps the reported PC shipment numbers are not too surprising. We should also remember that Microsoft, who helped created the tablet computer concept, ran Microsoft Windows XP on their first tablets.

IDC’s numbers are not all bad for the PC world, however. And, it the exceptions to the trend of downward PC shipments should be studied. First, Lenovo shows a large 16.3% year-over-year growth in the worldwide market while Toshiba bucks the downward trend with a small but healthy 3.8% increase. In the U.S., Toshiba has a healtly 10.4% growth while Apple challenges it with 9.6% in shipment increases (note Apple is not in the list of top 5 worldwide PC shipment leaders). Clearly, Lenovo, Toshiba and Apple must be doing something right. In fact, there are really only two major PC vendors that are the cause of the downward trend: Dell (-11.8% U.S.) and Acer (-42.1% U.S., -15.8% worldwide). Other vendors are treading water or doing relatively well like Lenovo, Toshiba and Apple.

It looks to me like a if these two vendors can fix their PC shipment issues, the overall PC market will look reasonably good.

Photo of IBM PC courtesy of Wikipedia