The time has come to do the annual count of the biggest computer makers, especially when we include all major computing devices - smartphones and tablets included. I was the first to do this count back in 2008 and have done it since.
Back then it was almost a heresy to suggest that a smartphone was a 'real' computer - but a lol has changed since; all of the 5 biggest classic PC makers - Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer, Toshiba and Lenovo -all have agreed that a smartphone is a full computer, and should be counted as one. So here we go. We did the count again last year and Nokia was on top
. This year we see the return of the first rebel computer maker to shake up the classic order - Apple - return to the top.
Back in the 1980s, during the days of the Apple II
, an Apple PC of yesteryear - Apple was the world's biggest computer maker (by number of computers sold). Then it soon lost its lead when the company lost their way with Lisa from one side, and IBM PC and its numerous clones came out using Microsoft DOS (and later Windows) operating system. So this moment must be particularly sweet for old-timer Apple employees and fans of the brand. Apple is back on top!
Here is the list for the full year 2010 - the biggest computer makers in the world, when we include classic mainframes, desktop and laptop PCs and servers, and newer smaller comptuers, the netbooks, tablet PCs like the iPad, and the smartphones (and the other pocket PCs like the iPod Touch). The number in parenthesis is last year's ranking. Ten Largest Computer Makers 2010
1. Apple (3). . . . . . . . . . 108.9 Million . . . . .17%
2. Nokia (1) . . . . . . . . . . 100.3 Million . . . . .16%
3. HP (2) . . . . . . . . . . . 67.5 Million . . . . . 10%
4. RIM (6) . . . . . . . . . . . 47.0 Million . . . . . 7%
5. Acer (4) . . . . . . . . . . . 43.8 Million . . . . . 7%
6. Dell (5) . . . . . . . . . . . 42.7 Million . . . . . 7%
7. Lenovo (8) . . . . . . . . . 36.2 Million . . . . . 6%
8 . Samsung (-) . . . . . . . . 26.0 Million . . . . . 4%
9. HTC (-) . . . . . . . . . . . 25.0 Million . . . . . 4%
10. Toshiba (7) . . . . . . . . 22.1 Million . . . . . 3%
Rest of Computer Makers. .126 Million. . . . . . . 19%
Total Computers Made . . . 646 Million
Thats the story. Congratulations Apple! Returning straight to the top.
A few clarifications for those curious. Obviously no other source (as far as I know, so far) reports on this chart. The numbers I used were public data on the PC sales for the year, the smartphones sales for the year, and the iPad sales for Apple. For the iPod Touch, because Apple doesn't report that number separate from other iPods, I used the formula of 2/3 the size of iPhone sales, which is generally accepted and seems to conform well with other reported data. So I had 31 Million iPod Touch devices for Apple in 2010. Note that I did my best to add PC and tablet sales for Samsung (which is why its ahead of HTC) and added the smartphone sales for HP, Lenovo etc as my best estimate.
There is one 'fudge factor'. This year the race between Acer and Dell is very tight, some like IDC reported Dell ahead of Acer, while others like Gartner reported Acer ahead of Dell. So I did my best and used the average of the numbers I found. But for the others, the differences are very clear, so the rankings for all others is solid. For example the difference between number 2 Nokia and number 1 Apple was so great, that even if iPod Touch devices sold only half the levels of the iPhone, Apple would still have been on top.Is this a computer? The industry thinks so...
Those who argue that a smartphone is 'not a proper computer' - please don't bother to argue that point here anymore. It is no longer worth arguing, if HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba - the 5 biggest PC makers - all agree that smartphones are computers. AMD, Intel and nVidia are all entering (or trying to enter) the smartphone/tablet market with their own processors, while Microsoft has around 1,000 engineers developing Windows 8 to run flawlessly on ARM architecture. I am happy to have comments here, but those postings that try to argue that smarthpones are not computers, wake up. That train has left the station and we won't even bother to reply to those. If the big computer makers think so - go argue with them. We are only here to report the numbers for you.
And talking of numbers, if you needed the numbers for the whole mobile industry, then 189 pages and 94 tables and charts for only 9.99 Euros is a tremendous value. All the data on the subscribers, revenues, services, traffic, handsets, features, apps, operating systems, minutes, messages, advertising etc are in the brand new TomiAhonen Almanac 2011. See here for the full table of contents and ordering info
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