The global PC market remains strong because many people in the developing world are just getting their PCs right now. That is why we reported that East Africa market grew by 76% in the last few quarters. Yet, that does not mean that the developed world have not called PC an old machine, looking for something new.
In the latest report from IHS iSuppli, three of the top brands (Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, HP) suffered declines. Toshiba and Lenovo did well. A breakdown shows that they did that through the emerging market. Acer was badly beaten as its netbook product is being displaced by tablets. It saw a 20% drop in its Q1 2011 when compared to the same time last year. It went from Q1 2010 of 11.6 million units to 9.2 million units in Q2 2011.
If you go to companies like Gafunk in Ikeja, the small netbook Acer series can easily be confused with tablet. No wonder, many people are buying tablets over it, in the developed world.
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As Windows Mango goes out this fall to power more devices, the PC market could be in more competition. When people begin to run Office in tablets, incentive for PC will continue to go down. Windows Mango is at the fifth position in the operating system business, behind Android, iOS, Symbian; yet, it could provide a direct competition to PC.
Tekedia thinks this could be the defining moment for PC in the developed world. It also means that Intel that controls the chip sales to the PC market must work hard to compete in the tablet market as it seems to hold the prospect for the future.
Yet, we must note that the market for PC, especially in the emerging nation is huge. There are many people that do not have access to PC. That simply implies that the opportunity is huge. As IHS noted, the market will grow by 8% to 373 million units in 2011. But it may not be the developed world that will drive that – the emerging world will surely do that.