Looking Beyond Windows
5. It's cementing Apple's position in the marketplace It's hard to believe that Apple has grown into the biggest technology company in the world. When Steve Jobs first returned to the company he co-founded, some wondered if he could fix Apple. But with a string of successes, including the iPod and iPhone, he confirmed Apple's position as a force to be reckoned with in the technology industry. Now, with the iPad 2 on store shelves, it's clear that Apple's tablet is only cementing the company's position as a dominant force in tech. All others are playing for second place.Prior to the launch of the iPad last year, PC vendors such as Dell, HP and Acer knew that the vast majority of consumers would opt for their computers, rather than any other. But the iPad has changed that. Apple's tablet is now a real threat to every other computer on store shelves. Major PC vendors are having a harder time than ever getting consumers to opt for their computers. In fact, IDC reported recently that global PC shipments were down 3.2 percent in the first quarter. When tablets were included in that tally in a study from another research firm last month, global sales were up 7 percent. It's an interesting shift that could have a profound impact on the marketplace going forward. 7. An underpowered tablet-for a price When one considers what they can do with Apple's iPad 2 compared with a full-fledged notebook, there's no contest-the notebook wins. The device typically comes with a desktop operating system, better specs, more storage and a price that consumers can live with. Yet, millions of people around the globe are opting for Apple's iPad, which starts at $499 and goes all the way up to $829. Apple has proved that with the right product and the right user experience, consumers will pay a substantial sum of cash for a device that lacks many of the benefits of its more full-featured competition. It's an important change that can't be overlooked by Apple competitors. 8. The enterprise is thinking beyond Windows For the first time, the enterprise is thinking about more than just a Windows computer. In fact, Apple said that many of the largest firms in the world are considering deploying iPads in their operations. If that trend continues and IT executives opt for an iPad over, say, a Windows-based netbook or lightweight notebook, it could be cause for concern for several PC vendors as well as for Microsoft. Windows will remain supreme in the enterprise for the time being, but its importance isn't as great as it once was and it may continue to wane. 9. Microsoft's waning importance With this trend in mind, it's worth considering the impact the iPad has on Microsoft's business. Now more than ever, Microsoft's importance is on the decline. The company doesn't have a significant tablet presence, and Apple continues to secure that marketplace. The software giant says that it plans to make tablets a key component in its strategy in the next year, and speculation abounds that Windows 8 will carry out its tablet plans. But until that happens, it seems that Microsoft's influence both in the tablet space and the technology industry as a whole is waning. 10. Battle of the giants Apple's tablet success has only further ignited that company's battle with Google. The war between the firms first started in the smartphone market, where they both started vying for consumer attention. But now that the iPad has gotten off to a big jumpstart and Android-based devices are starting to join the fray, a new front has opened up. Looking ahead, expect both firms to engage in battle across several different sectors of the industry.
6. PC vendors are on notice