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As Steve Jobs liked to say, “Boom.”

iphone5goldTotal unit sales of Apple products surpassed unit sales of computers running Windows last quarter, according to Andreesen Horowitz analyst Benedict Evans. Using numbers from Apple, Gartner and Andreesen Horowitz, Evans said the two companies were close to parity on device sales when counting Windows Phone units, though Apple has surpassed devices that run traditional Windows.

It’s a historic moment for Apple, which in the first quarter of 2009 didn’t come close to competing with Microsoft’s sales. But between the deflating PC market and an explosion in sales of the iPhone and iPad, Apple managed to hit the gas and pass Microsoft.

Device sales aren’t the whole story for either company, of course. Microsoft has many more products that it works on, like the Xbox One and Bing, and Apple brings in billions of dollars through the App Store. When it comes to their financials, there’s no contest: Apple reported $57.6 billion in revenue last quarter, more than two times Microsoft’s quarterly revenue of $24.52 billion.

It’s unclear whether the sea change is permanent, though. As the chart above shows, Apple’s sales traditionally run high in the fourth quarter of a calendar year when people are looking to pick up new iOS devices for the holidays, but slip after that.

Still, it looks like Apple’s growth, while modest, isn’t going away just yet. It has a big lead over Microsoft in the mobile and tablet markets, areas where new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and company need to step up their game.

Comments

  • TY

    Kind of an unfair comparison, seeing as most phones become obsolete after two years and most PC’s can last for over three… some can last as long as six!.. It’s kinda like saying why you need a new bike or new shoes after three years when a car can last ten years. Both get you places, but they are different devices. PC’s and phones are different markets. They are the same overall category, but they are different markets. PC sales are going down: yes because PC’s last longer than mobile phones…. Also, mobile phones don’t update the software for phones older than two to three years old, forcing you to buy a new phone…. So far, Microsoft is still supporting XP, a Ten year old operating system (though they are about to pull the plug) This is an unfair comparison. Apple doesn’t support iOS 3.2.1 anymore, and that was only three years ago.

    • Stephen

      Good points, and the writer has to throw in every iOS device to beat the PC sales. If you notice the sales of Mac are pretty much unchanged. What’s happened is a market correction has occurred where appliance are being bought by people that really never needed a full PC, or even a full PC tablet. They’re happy with their iPads and Androids tablets.
      What would be an interesting comparison is to add all unit sales in from all three companies. Google, Microsoft and Apple, and then include the 360 and XB1 for MS. You can even include apple tv and put that up against the Google monsters.

      • TY

        Well I do concede that Windows phone market and the windows tablet markets lags lot in the current marketplace. THAT would be a fair comparison. Notice, however how none of those devices are labeled currently as “PCs”

  • Bozly9

    Yawn… How many of those apple devices have a USB, Can add memory, or can load anything with going through a marketplace/appstore …… ???

    While both can listen to music, surf the web and do email, the comparison is as faulty as saying that there are more dump-trucks than
    jet fighters. Both are forms of transportation, but I would not want to go to battle with a dump-truck!

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