Canalys: Tablets Will Reach 50% of PC Market Next Year

The tablet takeover is right around the corner. That's the upshot of a new forecast from industry research firm Canalys, which predicts that tablets will reach half of the total PC market by next year.

This coming tablet majority compares with Canalys' reporting this past February that tablets accounted for one-third of PCs. Although sales of notebook and desktop PCs continue to decline, the worldwide PC market -- including tablets, in Canalys' definition -- grew 18 percent in third quarter, when tablet shipments were 40 percent of the total.

The research firm is also predicting that Apple will remain the leading tablet vendor through the rest of this year with 30 percent of the tablet market, strengthened by its launch of the iPad Air and the upgraded iPad mini. But the report notes that Apple's emphasis on protecting its gross margins, and thus keeping its product in the premium-price range, will mean its market share will continue to decline.

Apple Decline 'Unavoidable'

Senior Analyst Tim Coulling said in a statement that "Apple's decline in PC market share is unavoidable when considering its business model," and added that Samsung is already leading the tablet market in the Europe, Middle East and Asia regions. He noted that Apple is "one of the few companies making money from the tablet boom," and, for that company, remaining highly profitable from its tablets and entire ecosystem "is of greater importance than market share statistics."

Canalys is also projecting a significant boost in Microsoft's tablet fortunes, increasing its market share to 5 percent from 2 percent last year. The research firm pointed out that Microsoft's purchase of Nokia, plus its steadily increasing position in tablets, shows that it is getting closer to "being a fully-fledged smart mobile device vendor," although it needs to address the confusing landscape of three operating systems...

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