NPD and Morgan Stanley Research are reporting that notebook PC sales growth (monthly year over year) has been in decline since Apple’s iPad was released and now has gone negative. There are undoubtedly a number of factors at work, but the iPad is surely a major one. Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn “said internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50 percent.”
While this is certainly hard cheese for the PC makers, there is someone else who is taking it on the chin: Microsoft. Almost all of those laptops PCs that didn’t move were running the Windows operating system and many would pick up some version of Microsoft Office as well. Those sales have now vanished and when the Microsoft Windows and Office cash cows stumble, so does Microsoft. Stand by for some interesting earnings reports from Redmond.
Update: There’s a lot of skepticism about Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn’s statement and he’s now backpedaling rapidly without denying he said it. I tend to think it was simply a misstatement since the implied hit on notebooks sales is so much larger than the Morgan Stanley report would require. Speaking of which, a comment from the author of the Morgan Stanley article says that the sales figures showing the decline include netbooks. That is better news for traditional PC makers, but since most netbooks these days run Windows, it is cold comfort for Microsoft.