Feeds

Global notebook sales finally beat desktops

PCs are up, Macs are down

The essential guide to IT transformation

Global sales of notebooks in the third quarter exceeded desktops for the first time in history, according to market watcher iSuppli.

"History," in this case, is of course a rather short period of time, what with the dawn of the personal computer era generally considered to have begun with the release of the MITS Altair 8800 in 1975 - though many a grizzled geek can provide a convincing argument about why the Altair doesn't deserve that honor.

Identifying the first notebook is a murkier proposition, but the Epson HX-20 came out in 1981 and the more-capable TRS Model 100 followed in 1983. Full-fledged "notebooks" they were not, but many a desk jockey relied upon them while on the road.

Epson HX-20

From the humble Epson HX-20, a mighty industry sprang forth

And now, after 25-plus years of being the underdog to what were, at first, far more capable desktops, the notebook has taken over the world. IDC had called the notebook's US victory back in October, but the new information from iSuppli makes it a worldwide win.

According to a report in the IEEE Times: "Notebook PC shipments rose almost 40 per cent in [the third quarter of 2008] compared to the same period in 2007 to hit 38.6 million units. Desktop PC shipments declined by 1.3 per cent for the same period to 38.5 million units."

Impressive. Equally impressive, however, is the fact that even as the economy was rapidly going down the dumper worldwide PC unit shipments rose to 79 million units, 15.4 per cent over the third quarter of 2007. All year, in fact, notebooks have kept the PC market rolling along, tracked by news stories such as Economy Hits US PC Sales, but Notebook growth remains strong in April and Notebook sales help boost Dell earnings in May.

Some of this growth, however, can be credited to the rise of the lower-cost netbook, seeing as how the little guys are counted along with full-fledged notebooks to total up the non-desktop figure. Again according to the IEEE Times when referring to the world's third-largest PC maker, Acer: "The company shipped nearly three million more notebooks in the third quarter than in previous quarter, the majority of them netbook products."

The news wasn't peachy for everyone, however. Apple, for example, saw its global market share dip by half a percentage point to 3.2 per cent. But there's even a silver lining to this cloud over Cupertino. As pointed out by the Silicon Alley Insider: "Apple... is increasingly a notebook company. If the trend toward notebooks continues - which we expect it will - Apple stands to gain market share."

But we can't resist adding our own two cents to that optimistic spin: Apple would best benefit from the Brave New Notebook World if and when it produces a netbook - and no, despite what some say, the iPhone 3G is not a netbook-beater. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Leak: Intel readies next round of NUC
Cheap boxen to get a refresh
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?