Apple Now PC-Selling Leader: Study

Not only is Apple in a battle to be the country's most profitable company, it is also on the verge of becoming the global leader in PC sales.

Apple has already achieved that distinction, according to some studies, who count the iPadas a personal computer.

It market analyst firm Canalys is one of those firms that considers Apple's tablet to be part of the personal computer market.

And according to its math, Apple became the worldwide leader in client PC vending in Q4 of 2011.

Apple took the lead on the back of selling more than 15 million iPads and 5 million Mac computers.

The overal PC market grew by 16 percent year over year last year when tablets were included in the arena but when they were taken out, the market shrunk by 0.4 percent.

"Currently, HP is pursuing a Windows strategy for its pad portfolio, producing enterprise-focused products, such as the recently launched Slate 2, until the launch of Windows 8," Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling said. "However, questions remain over Microsoft’s entry into the consumer pad space. While early demonstrations of the Window 8 operating system seem promising, Microsoft must focus its efforts on creating an intuitive user experience that is far less resource intensive."

Apple's overall gain was by about 6 percent, while the only other major computer-makers, only Lenovo saw its market share increase as well.

But Canalys expects that Apple's reign could be short lived. Its analysts say that PC-makers could take a bite out of Apple's growth by the end of 2012 when the new Ultrabooks see more adoption.

"We expect Ultrabook volumes to see limited adoption through the first half of 2012, before finally gaining momentum later in the year as price points decline and Intel launches a new line of processors and embarks on an aggressive marketing campaign," Canalys Research Analyst Michael Kauh said. "In the short term though, vendors will experience more pressure in the netbook and notebook segments, especially with Apple’s annual iPad refresh approaching."

For now, tablet computers accounted for 22 percent of all PC sales in the last quarter of 2011.

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