updated 06:40 pm EST, Thu January 27, 2011
Microsoft admits tablets had an effect on Q4 2010
Microsoft in its the call for its fiscal results acknowledged that tablets like the iPad were having an effect on the computer market. The company saw some of the PC sales volume being replaced with tablets and sometimes ultraportables. As tablets were secondary devices that weren't direct computers, they had created a "little bit of a drag" on the market, the company said.
Netbooks were also cast as past their prime. While notebook sales were healthy, netbooks were on the decline. Most of the growth in the fall came from business buyers upgrading their systems rather than home users.
As the provider of the OS for most computers, Microsoft was upbeat about the total market even as it leveled out. The field reached an all-time high of 90 million PCs shipped, but it grew a total of just two to four percent. Not all PC builders have reported their results so far, but the performance would put Apple's 23 percent Mac growth at about six to twelve times the industry average.
The remarks are part of an unusual reverse course for Microsoft. It denied any effect from the iPad when reporting its summer quarter but, in the immediate aftermath, began to hint that it was seeing some cannibalization as buyers skipped netbooks for tablets. The acknowledgement is the first in a quarterly result and suggests Microsoft is now more consciously aware of an impact for the iPad and, gradually, Android slates on its bottom line.