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Tablets rapidly gaining on PC sales

One-third of computers sold globally are now tablets, according to a survey by research firm, Canalys.

Combined with PCs, the market grew 12% over the previous year, with 134 million units shipped in the last three months of 2012. Apple let the way, with 27 million ipads and computers, and a 20% market share.

Hewlett-Packard was in second place, with 15 million units, slightly ahead of China-based Lenovo, both with an 11% market share. Samsung comes in at fourth spot, selling 11.7 million computers and tablets.

The outlook for Microsoft and its Windows RT operating system looks bleak, with just 3% of tablets shipped in the quarter using a Microsoft system, according to Canalys analyst Tim Coulling. Mr Coulling added that he expects Microsoft to consider drastically cutting the prices on Windows RT in the coming weeks.

Tablet sales were up 75% overall in the fourth quarter to 46.2 million units, with the new iPad mini estimated to make up more than half of Apple’s tablet sales. Despite the rocket under tablet sales, Apple’s share of the market slipped to 49% – still a healthy market share by anyone’s standards.

The Foolish bottom line

With news that the third largest PC maker Dell was seeking to go private, as it seeks to reduce its exposure to personal computers, the writing is on the wall for PCs. The humble desktop computer could become a niche market, much like vinyl records are now, and may have dire consequences for PC makers.

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More reading

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.

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