Friday, January 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm.

Microsoft blames the iPad — er, “competing form factors” — for weak PC market

Microsoft’s investor relations general manager Bill Koefoed, speaking on yesterday’s earnings call, via Seeking Alpha:

Turning to the PC market, as I mentioned last week, it was a challenging quarter for the industry. Factors such as the flooding in Thailand, macroeconomic uncertainty and competing form factors resulted in an overall market that we estimate declined 2% to 4%.

By “competing form factors,” he almost certainly means “tablets,” which generally means “the iPad.” This is why Windows 8 tablets are so important to Microsoft.

The good news there is that Windows 8 actually looks solid, and the competition from Android so far is mostly lame. (The economics of Windows 8 tablets, however, could be a different story.)

Oh, and, remember netbooks? Here’s Koefoed again:

In the PC market, it appears that the impact of the hard drive supply chain constraints were not limited to a specific region or OEM type. While absolute volumes were impacted, we did see the following trends continue: PC sales to emerging markets outpaced developed markets; the business PC refresh cycle continued with business PC growth at 2%; the decline of netbooks negatively impacted consumer PCs which were down 6%. Netbooks, which a year ago represented about 8% of the PC market, now represents only 2%. Excluding netbooks, consumer PCs grew 2%.

It’s funny to think there was a time when some people considered the lack of a netbook product to be one of Apple’s weaknesses.