Microsoft in discussing its summer results Thursday was evasive on acknowledging the iPad's effect on PC sales. It estimated that the PC field as a whole grew just one to three percent but used metrics that made it seem bigger, claiming that Windows copies for "traditional" PCs, excluding netbooks and Windows tablets, were up 14 percent. The software developer also pointed to business PCs growing five percent to a new high of 35 million.
The company admitted that consumer sales were "flat," but spun this as a decline in netbooks. No numbers were disclosed, although Intel revealed that Atom sales fell 32 percent in the summer.
While conventional notebooks and desktops aren't as vulnerable to tablets, analysts have noted that tablets are replacing and expanding on netbooks. In those areas where they're considered more affordable, they have sometimes been appealing to those who don't like or are intimidated by the complexity of traditional computers. iPads are about 68 percent of tablet sales so far.
Mac sales also haven't been dragged down in the same ways Windows PCs have. IDC estimates showed Macs growing by 22 percent in the same period. Although still much smaller in overall share, it has so far been largely immune to the economic factors and upgrade resistance that triggered declines in Windows revenue for the first half of the year.
Microsoft isn't expected to begin addressing tablet share more significantly until Windows 8 launches, most likely sometime in 2012.