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Earlier this week, Apple made an announcement that produced many headlines: in the 80 days following the debut of the iPad, the company has sold 3m tablets. For those of us who wondered if the iPad would sell, the answer is clearly a resounding "Yes!"
Not surprisingly, Apple's early success with the iPad has given a new form of ammunition to those who believe that the PC's best days are behind it. Even Steve Jobs stated earlier this month, "PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people."
He may very well be right, and admitted that the iPad may or may not be the next step in the evolution away from the PC. If Jobs is right, that evolution would likely hurt one company above all others: Microsoft. Although the software giant's footprint expands beyond the PC, its most important market -- the OS market -- would wither away without the PC.
But Jobs may not be right. At least not any time soon. Yesterday, Microsoft made an announcement of its own: it has sold 150m Windows 7 licenses since Windows 7 was released last October. That makes Windows 7 the fastest-selling OS in history. As Engadget notes, Microsoft has thus far moved seven licenses of Windows 7 every second since its debut.
As many have noted, a good chunk of the Windows 7 sales have been driven by enterprise customers. Many of them waited on the sidelines for years, refusing to upgrade to Vista. Clearly, that has led to a lot of pent-up demand for Windows 7, which is arguably what Vista should have been.
But the fact that this pent-up demand exists highlights an important fact: not only is the PC very much alive, but so is Windows. Microsoft's Vista flub gave would-be competitors plenty of time to pounce, but clearly Microsoft still has enough consumer and enterprise trust that when push comes to shove, individuals and businesses will open up their wallets and pay Microsoft for Windows. When, of course, it releases something that isn't like Vista.
It's hard to imagine that changing anytime soon. While the PC will almost certainly have to share the spotlight with other kinds of devices, including tablets, Steve Jobs' truck analogy may have missed the mark. PCs could very well be cars, and other computing devices bikes. There may be more bikes produced in the world every year, but based on its Windows 7 sales, I'm pretty sure Microsoft is content to own the auto market.
Photo credit: Nick, Programmerman via Flickr.