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'Wintel' at Lowest Share in 20 Years?

By demonstrating Windows 8 with a tablet-first interface earlier this summer, Microsoft implicitly argued that the PC ecosystem should include tablets.

One analyst firm is measuring the market exactly that way, and concluding that the market share of the "Wintel" paradigm is dropping.

Canalys released the research late last month in a news release under the headline, "Wintel share of global PC industry falls to under 82%." The Wall Street Journal cited the research in an article this week about the increasing challenges to Windows in a post-PC world. The Journal reported that Canalys' 82 percent figure for Windows and Intel chips represented the platform's worst showing in more than 20 years.

Looking at data for the second quarter, Canalys put global PC shipments at 97 million, with notebooks at 49 million, desktops at 28 million, netbooks at 7 million and "pads" (the company's term for tablets or slates) at 14 million. Overall growth compared to Q2 2010 was nearly 18 percent. Pads grew a phenomenal 316 percent, notebooks grew 10 percent and desktops grew almost 9 percent. Netbook sales sank 25 percent.

The firm's method of counting PC shipments puts Apple as the No. 2 PC maker, sitting just behind HP's 15 million units with 13 million units in the quarter.

To Canalys, the implosion of the netbook market and struggles elsewhere in the traditional PC market are directly attributable to pads.

"Some notebook and netbook vendors are blaming the economy for their setbacks in the consumer segment, but our research shows that this has been a relatively minor factor," Canalys analyst Tim Coulling said in a statement. "Established PC vendors have to come to terms with the fundamental industry shift ushered in by the pad's popularity."

Coulling also argued that Microsoft and Intel are "rapidly losing their ability to control standards and are no longer the main source of innovation within the PC market."

All is not lost for Microsoft, in Canalys' analysis. The company pointed to the popularity of Windows 7, especially among businesses, and noted that regulators are increasingly turning their attention to Apple, Google and Facebook, "leaving Microsoft and Intel freer to expand than in the past."

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 18, 2011