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.