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PCs on a downward trajectory - more numbers

In 2014 we’ll be in danger of experiencing what analysts like to call an inflection or tipping point, because tablets will almost out-ship all the other PCish categories, taken together, for the first time, making the tablet the King of the Hill.

Which means that Google and Apple are riding the wave and Microsoft has washed up on the beach: which might account for all the supressed rage in its Scroogled ads, see - Microsoft enters into the spirit of Xmas (and tries to rip Google’s head off).

In 2014, then, tablets are set to form almost 50 per cent of the total client PC market (desktops, notebooks, and tablets). That market, by the way, is growing at a healthy clip, notching up 18 per cent in Q3 2013 alone, despite desktop and notebook shipments continuing to decline.

Overall, PC tablet shipments accounted for 40 per cent of PC shipments in Q3 2013, less than half a million units behind global notebook shipments, says Canalys and the trend is set to continue with 285 million units due to ship in 2014, growing to 396 million units in 2017.

The winners will continue to be Apple and Samsung in the medium term, with Apple strengthening its position with the launch of the iPad Air and the new iPad mini. Apple’s desktop and notebook business has managed to remain stable while other vendors have seen their numbers dip, but its habit of maintaining healthy margins will unavoidably see it market share decline somewhat.

Microsoft will take 5 per cent of the tablet PC market in 2014, up from just 2% in 2012 - hardly stellar performance, but Canalys says its Nokia acquisition makes it look more like a fully-fledged smart mobile device vendor which should bolster its standing amongst channel partners and consumers.

But the real winner here, of course, is Google. Android-derived OSs are forecast to take a full 65 per cent share of the market in 2014 with 185 million units. Samsung will remain in the lead with 27 per cent share of Android tablet shipments, but with increasing competition around a well-understood device-type Canalys expects its share to decline as well.

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