The beginning of the end for Microsoft?

Consumer PC sales growth declines for first time ever: iPad the culprit?
[Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)]

Business Insider has posted a chart that tracks consumer PC growth from June of 2007 to March of 2011. According to the chart consumer PC sales have grown by at least 10 percent every quarter, until December 2010 when it remained flat. In the quarter ending March 2011, consumer PC sales actually went down 4 percent.

Business Insider says that “Microsoft’s consumer PC sales growth has pretty much never declined. Not even when Microsoft released Vista. Not even when the economy went in the toilet. But suddenly, the growth of sales is about to go negative.” Business Insider attributes this coming negative slump to the iPad. While you can present the same data in many different ways and draw different conclusions about what’s causing a particular decline, I do think Business Insider has a point.

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The sales of Windows 7 actually declined the last quarter compared to the previous one. And that one was flat compared to the previous. In fact, since March of last year, the growth in Windows sales have fallen off a cliff – dropping from increases of 37% a quarter to -4%. The sales curve is now pointing down.

This never happened through the teeth of the economic recession we are dealing with. Heck, even in the worst quarter at the beginning of the current crisis, Windows sales still went up 10%.

If this continues, the calls for Ballmer will really accelerate.