By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
April 14, 2011

The global PC market shrank 3.2% year over year in Q1 2011 as iPad sales surged

It’s a pity IDC doesn’t include tablets in its quarterly surveys of computer shipments. If it did, the inflection point in the first quarter of 2011 would be even clearer.

[UPDATE: Asymco’s Horace Dediu has done us the favor of drawing an extraordinary graph that includes the iPad. It looks like a giraffe. Click here.]

IDC had expected an anemic 1.5% growth in global PC shipments year over year. What it found instead in the survey released Wednesday was a 3.2% decline, even as demand for tablet computers — or rather, Apple’s AAPL iPad — soared.

“Long-term success will depend on hardware manufacturers being able to articulate a message that is beyond simple hardware specifications,” wrote IDC senior researcher Jay Chou, sounding a little like Steve Jobs. “‘Good-enough computing’ has become a firm reality, exemplified first by Mini Notebooks and now Media Tablets.”

Well, not so much those mini notebooks anymore. Acer’s global market share shrank 15.8% last quarter, according to IDC, as the market for its netbooks collapsed and its tablets failed to take off. Dell DELL and HP HPQ also disappointed. Of the major PC manufacturers, only Lenovo, Toshiba and Apple grew in the quarter. In the U.S. market, a “surging” Apple overtook Acer to take the No. 4 spot. Even without the iPad.

Below: IDC’s global and U.S. market shares for Q1 2011

Also on Fortune.com:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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