Chart via Horace Dediu
Now we can actually confirm that the day the iPad was introduced, Personal Computing changed forever.
Two years earlier, 2008 was the year of the netbook. Analysts would doubt whether Steve Jobs was right to dismiss netbooks when he insisted Apple would never launch one.
And once a gain his genius was spot on. In 2010 the iPad created a new category that made netbooks completely irrelevant. The rise of the netbook signaled a need for light computers with long battery duration and just powerful enough for everyday use. Now we know the answer was not going to be just a smaller PC.
The inevitable growth of broadband pipes and services in the cloud are a perfect fit for tablets, phablets and smartphones to become a more and more frequent replacement of laptops in our daily life. In emerging markets the leapfrog to wireless broadband and mobile computing is a reality. It will only accelerate the trend the chart shows.
Microsoft has a big problem with mobile and tablets. Windows 8 is a compromise to address tablets and desktops, but it is not working neither of them. Microsoft faces disruption in the personal computing space they used to dominate. Compromises have never worked well in face of disruption.