If Apple is to be believed, when it comes to the iPad, Microsoft has more to worry about than not fielding a strong tablet competitor. Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook claims that the iPad is stealing sales from Windows PCs.
Apple reported its earning for the fiscal third quarter today, and the iPad was a big contributor to profit and revenue. The company sold 9.25 million iPads in the quarter, which was an increase of 183% over the third quarter last year.
Cook said the iPad cannibalized some Mac sales, but the effect on PC sales was more serious. According to a live Forbes blog of the earnings call, here's what he had to say:
"First as I said before I think there was some cannibalization of new Macs by iPads...it's clear that some customers chose to purchase an iPad instead of a new Mac, but what really excites us is more customers chose to buy an iPad than a Windows PC."
Cook didn't provide any numbers to back that up, but he's likely right. Few people would buy an iPad rather than a primary Windows PC, but plenty would consider buying an iPad instead of a secondary PC, such as an inexpensive laptop or a netbook.
That's all the more reason that Microsoft needs to get a tablet competitor on the market, and fast. Microsoft has decided that Windows 8 will be its primary tablet operating system, but by the time that ships, Android tablets and the iPad will likely have the market sewn up. Microsoft would do well to consider allowing tablets to be based on Windows Phone 7. That way, they'll get out the door faster.
That's not likely to happen. And so the iPad, and Android tablets, will continue to eat into Windows' market share.