HP's recent announcement the company is extinguishing its webOS-based product lines and jettisoning its PC division highlight the ongoing transformation of the personal technology markets. Market share alone accomplishes nothing. Integrated product lines and content to support product sales mean everything in our fast-changing world.
Although HP is currently the world's largest PC maker, HP doesn't own the operating system on which the company's consumer PC products run. Developing a strong content distribution system to support product sales for the mobile OS the company does own would have taken years and billions of dollars to accomplish. HP's global PC market share delivered no advantages in efforts to develop a market for handheld digital devices. Content sells devices. Without content and the means to sell and distribute content quickly and inexpensively, device sales will languish.
The Apple iPad now stands alone in the global market for tablets. The iPad is first and foremost an expansion of Apple's multi-device iOS product paradigm. Outside of the Apple iPad, a robust consumer market for tablet devices does not currently exist. At this time there isn't consumer demand for a tablet other than the iOS-based product Apple has released in tablet form.
The Foundation of the iPad's Success
Underpinning the Apple iPad's success are the same factors underpinning the success of the iPhone and the iPod touch. Through the end of the June quarter, cumulative iOS-based product sales have reached 222 million units. However, the more impressive statistic is the more than 225 million iTunes accounts backed by credit cards. The Apple iPad is building on the customer and content sales relationships the company began establishing in 2003 with the opening of the iTunes store. There isn't a competing product manufacturer that has a direct sales relationship with almost one-quarter billion customers with active accounts for content purchases. The chart below illustrates the Apple iPad's unit sales performance since the product's initial release.