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Microsoft Windows 8 tablet sales off to a flying start
Microsoft Windows 8 tablet sales off to a flying start

Windows 8 is barely taxiing on the runway as a PC operating system, but Microsoft has already made a splash in the tablet market. Figures from Strategy Analytics show the operating system had a 7.4% share of the global tablet market in the first three months of 2013.

Apple remains the dominant player with a 48.2% share, down from 63.1% a year earlier. Android’s share increased from 34.2% to 43.4%.

I discussed this last night on the NZ Tech Podcast with Paul Spain, who made an interesting point. There are no cheap Windows 8 tablets and Microsoft has yet to deliver a version that works with a seven-inch screen. So Windows 8 only plays in the top end of the market.

Smaller tablets – which are also cheaper tablets – make up roughly half the total market. So that means Microsoft’s share of the full-size tablet market is closer to 15%.

Strategic Analytics also points to the limited distribution, a shortage of apps and market confusion all holding back Windows 8 in the tablet market.

In other words, there could be more to come.

Microsoft’s relatively early success is great news for everyone; having three strong players makes for a vibrant market and means tablet makers will need to keep innovating to stay in the game. Without Microsoft we could see a split between Apple at the luxury end and Android as the commodity player.

3 thoughts on “Windows tablets fly to 7% market share

  1. Windows is competing with Apple, not Android. Apple is really only interested in the high end of the market and is content to let Android compete on price. Microsoft is potentially a more direct challenge, but I suspect that Windows 8 tablets will gravitate to a niche business market, while iPads will continue to dominate the high-end consumer market.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, history tells us that the business market tends to gravitate towards the consumer market.

    • I agree, but would express the point in a slightly different way:

      – Apple is what people want to buy. – Android is what they end up with if they are on a tight budget or have an irrational fear of owning an Apple device. – Windows is what you get when someone in IT or the corporate finance department is spending the money.

      Microsoft has put corporate customers first for the last 20-odd years (and I mean corporations, not small or medium businesses). Microsoft’s challenge is learning how to put individuals first – hence, I guess, the non-corporate-looking magenta and cyan-coloured Surface tablets. To succeed Microsoft needs to join Apple at the top of the choice pyramid, to do that it has to break its relationship with corporate buyers. At the moment it is still trying to square the circle.

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