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iPad 'cannibalised' Q2 netbook sales

But will the surge last?

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Market watcher Gartner this week presented further evidence that early adopter enthusiasm for netbooks has peaked.

"Mini-notebook shipment growth slowed significantly in Q2 2010," said Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa.

Growth, she said, "slowed" to the low 20 per cent range, down from more than 70 per cent in Q1 2010 and Q4 2009. This, she added, indicates that the netbook market has begun to mature.

Kitagawa laid the blame for the slowdown in netbook shipments - not to mention some notebook shipments too - on Apple's iPad, which went on sale in Q2,

"Surging popularity of Apple's iPad temporarily cannibalised mini-notebooks, as well as consumer notebook sales to some degree," she said, but cautiously questioned whether this will continue given how much more expensive such media-centric tablets are in comparison to netbooks.

Gartner said it saw "no signs" that the iPad is eating into Apple's US Mac sales, and the fact that the tablet is taking sales away from rival manufacturers' products is clearly a big win for the company.

And crucially, we'd add, a sign that the iPad isn't solely selling to fanboys.

Of course, because Gartner doesn't consider the iPad a personal computer, it doesn't include iPad sales in its PC market numbers. We'd argue that the iPad - and comparable tablets from other vendors when they come - are personal computers, and if Gartner is going to include netbook shipments it has to include tablets too.

The picture it presents of the world personal computer market will not be complete until it does.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa - bizarrely combined given the very different nature of the market in these regions - netbook continued to account for around 20 per cent of the mobile computer market, with Asus, Samsung and Sony scoring the top three netbook vendor slots. ®

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