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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- On Wednesday night's "Mad Money" TV show, TheStreet's Jim Cramer summed up the situation at Dell(DELL) with a precision:
"When the smoke clears off this miserable Dell quarter, people will realize that Apple's behind the destruction of the laptop."
Right on. The company that Steve Jobs built and Tim Cook can only hope to sustain deserves the credit or the blame -- depending on which "side" you're on -- for disrupting the entire computer industry.
I experienced the phenomenon Cramer describes the other day without even thinking about it.
My mother is in the market for a new computer. She owns a desktop. I told her to consider a laptop. She called to ask, "Why do people even need to buy computers anymore when the iPad exists?" Excellent question.
She, independent of the millions of others who likely have had the same thought, proved Cramer's point.
Apple(AAPL - Get Report), Steve Jobs changed the world in more profound ways than we have begun to realize.
While a place still exists for desktops and, more so, laptops, the iPad shrank that market big time.
If you're like my Mom and all you do is check email, go on
Facebook(FB), play a game or two, view photos, read books, leaf through magazines and search for information on
Google(GOOG) from time to time, there's really no need for anything more than an iPad.
I part ways with Cramer, however, when he predicts "a world of hurt for just about everyone, save Apple."
There's no question that Apple will continue to dominate the space for the foreseeable future.
And although I agree that
Intel(INTC - Get Report) and
Microsoft(MSFT - Get Report) both came late to the mobile party, you cannot count them out as legitimate players.
I consider both names as buys instead of a dying Dell.
I have provided more color on these two companies in
this article, but, in a nutshell, Intel and Microsoft have positioned themselves well to hang with Apple and provide meaningful returns to shareholders.
It's not just the iPad that will cannibalize sales of traditional computers. Expect ultrabooks and forthcoming Windows 8-powered tablets to take their fair share.