iPad More Disruptive Than Originally Thought – Eating Into PC Sales – Is Microsoft Willing to Cannibalize Windows to Prepare for the Future?

It didn’t surprise many people that Apple’s iPad cut into netbook sales this year. Now, however, according to Gartner, tablets (including the iPad) have apparently already cut into overall PC sales. 2010 PC sales are up 14.3% compared to the earlier projection of 17.9%.

Gartner Forecasts: PC Shipments Down, Tablets Up

PC sales projections for 2011 have already been reduced from 18.1% to 15.9%.

Meanwhile other analysts are apparently pulling near random numbers out of their respective hats in their tablet sales forecasts. Citigroup projects 35 million tablet sales in 2011 while FBR Capital Markets’ projected sales are double that at 70 million. One or both of them is clearly going to be very wrong at the end of 2011. That aside, the forecasts and predictions appear to be in favor of tablets at the expense of desktop and notebook/netbook PCs. Apple is capitalizing by once again showing a willingness to cannibalize an existing business to create a new disruptive one. Google has nothing to lose with their dual Chrome OS for netbooks and Android for tablets/smartphones strategy. Microsoft has a big problem by refusing to disrupt their Windows cash cow by adopting a disruptive strategy. A Windows 7 based finger touch tablet is not going to work. And, so far, Windows Phone 7 (or some other Windows CE based mobile shell) has not been seriously discussed as their obvious tablet platform choice.