Firms to buy 10m tablet PCs this year

AROUND a quarter of tablet computers, such as Apple’s smash-hit iPad, will be bought by businesses this year, according to Deloitte.

The “big four” accountancy giant says firms will snap up tablet devices for their employees instead of buying more costly PCs.

“We predict that companies in the retail, healthcare and manufacturing sectors will buy more than 10m tablets for their staff,” said Peter O’Donoghue, head of Deloitte’s technology practice.

O’Donoghue added the devices were attractive because of their ease of use and longer battery-life

However, he said firms could be hit by hidden costs, as tablets – which are less robust than PCs – would need to be replaced more often.

Meanwhile, combined global sales of smartphones, netbooks and tablets will overtake annual PC sales of 400m for the first time in 2011, Deloitte predicts. “2011 will mark the tipping point as the growth of applications for non-PC items outstrips traditional sales and consumers embrace a wider variety of devices,” said O’Donoghue.

The demise of the desktop PC is bad news for software giant Microsoft, which derives around 62 per cent of its revenues from sales of Windows and Office.

Microsoft – which has a virtual monopoly when it comes to operating system software for the desktop PC – can’t expect the same kind of dominance on new devices, Deloitte said, with tough competition from the likes of Apple and Google.