Before we go into that rat’s hole, I want to re-visit my original criticism for market analysis based on device attributes. When the iPad was new it was famously labeled a “media tablet” by Gartner and excluded from being counted (and hence compared) with PCs. This created an implicit signal to the analyst’s clients to ignore the entrant as irrelevant.
That actually accelerated their demise (and the revenue prospects for the analyst).
In contrast to that exclusion–of a clear and present danger based on an arbitrary definition of form factor–the analyst who defines categories of products purely on the definition of their components is guilty of the same sin.
In a typically insightful post by Horace Deidu, this section struck me as particularly noteworthy.
The iPad and the PC can function as either complements or substitutes, but there is a relationship between the two that some analysts missed at first blush. The reason they missed it is because they were wedding to a particular vision of how a job was supposed to be done, not recognizing that there might be other, better ways to arrive at the same end. This narrow focus on superficial details like form factor led them to categorize the iPad and similar tablets differently than PCs, when a more rigorous analysis (you know, the kind these guys are paid to do) would have revealed that the two "categories" were actually competing for the same attention and were, in many cases, capable of doing the same job.
It's important when faced with a problem to avoid becoming wedded to a solution simply because it's the one you know. Not only might there be a better way of doing the job to done, but a failure to understand that there are other options can, over time, render your original solution obselete.