Eating your own, Microsoft style

Eat your own, or somebody else will. That's the new mantra in the device world.
Here's what Apple said this week on that topic.
In terms of cannibalization and how we think about this, I see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for us. One, our base philosophy is to never fear cannibalization. If we do, somebody else will just cannibalize it and so we never fear it. --Tim Cook.
This was said in response to an analyst's question during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call. Earlier in the call, Apple, in its prepared remarks, said that it sold 4.1 million Macs in the quarter, more than a million less than the 5.2 million sold a year ago in the same period.
But iPad sales appear to be more than compensating: 22.9 million iPads were sold during the quarter compared with 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
So, how are PCs faring in comparison? Worldwide PC shipments totaled 89.8 million units in Q4, about 6 million less than the 95.9 million shipped in the same period last year, according to IDC.
Problem is, the PC industry doesn't have -- and didn't have for years -- something like the iPad to cannibalize (a word I use loosely, as its original meaning has been hijacked by analysts) old-school designs, so there is no net gain. It does now have Microsoft, though.
Microsoft (now a PC maker, by the way) isn't so much cannibalizing as trying to eat its customer's lunch. All in a very controlled, civilized way, of course. (And very necessarily, many would argue.)
Here's what Microsoft said this week during the company's earnings conference call about the Surface tablet (via Seeking Alpha).
With the broadening of the Surface lineup, we will continue to highlight the power of Windows 8 tightly integrated with fantastic hardware. --Peter Klein, chief financial officer
Translation: more Surface stuff on the way. More nibbling on partners' blue plate specials.
Meanwhile, Windows 8 PC purveyors are desperately trying to replace traditional PCs with designs that don't exactly cannibalize but straddle the old and new. Acer (which isn't fond of Microsoft the PC maker) has, for example, the Aspire S7, which is arguably one of the top, aesthetically speaking, Windows 8 touch-screen laptops out there right now. And it now has a pair of Windows 8 Iconia tablets that become laptops when attached to dedicated docks.
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