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Media Tablets Impact PC Sales

Stamford, Conn. – Gartner has slightly downgraded its 2011 PC
unit shipment forecast due to consumer interest in the iPad and other media

Gartner now expects 2011 PC shipments worldwide to hit 409
million units, up 15.9 percent from this year. In September the research firm expected
shipments to be 18.1 percent higher than 2010.

Gartner analysts placed the reason for the drop directly on the
new crop of media tablets. Media tablets will have such an impact on the market
that Gartner is not ruling out a permanent shift away from the traditional
computer types to media tablets, particularly for consumers.

“Over the longer
term, media tablets are expected to displace around 10 percent of PC units by
2014,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Gartner tracks media tablet devices separately from desktop and
laptop computers. In October the company released a


predicting 20 million media tablets will ship in 2010, with twice that number
going out in 2011.

Adding to the PC
woes will be next-generation smartphones that mimic a PC’s capabilities while
giving users an extremely mobile experience, the company said.

Gartner also
pointed out the business model that has supported desktop and laptop sales, low
prices that drive volume, is hitting a wall.

“As the PC market slows, vendors that differentiate themselves
through services and technology innovation rather than unit volume and price
will dictate the future,” George
Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

Shiffler added
that even when such innovations are adopted by PC vendors, they will still
struggle to make their products desirable compared to the media tablets.

Adding to the
PC’s downfall is the ongoing recession, which is forcing consumers and
businesses to hold off on purchases.

Gartner also
noted other, non-media tablet reasons, for the PC upcoming struggle.