Microsoft Tablet Market Share Beats Estimates

Strategy Analytics, a research and consulting firm, reported first-quarter tablet market-share results this week in its "Global Tablet OS Market Share: Q1 2013" report.

The report found that three million Windows tablets were shipped in 2013, representing 7.5 percent of the market.

Apple led in the first quarter with 19.5 million tablets shipped, representing 48.2 percent of the market. Android came in second with 17.6 million tablets and 43.4 percent of the market.

Android-based tablets actually rose to the No. 1 market position with 52 percent of the market when "white box" tablets are considered. These white box devices are rebranded devices that sometimes use lower-cost components, according to Strategy Analytics. Electronic book readers and "convertible PCs" were excluded from the report's definition of a tablet.

The 7.5 percent number for Windows tablets shipped seems high compared with IDC's first-quarter estimate of 2.8 percent. IDC expects Microsoft to have a single-digit tablet market share of 7.4 percent through 2017.

Microsoft did not provide updated Windows 8/Windows RT shipment numbers in its latest fiscal third-quarter earnings report. The last estimate Microsoft gave, back in January, was 60 million Windows 8 licenses sold. However, Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein did point to some changes to come in the second half of this year. For instance, new devices will arrive that may use a "Windows Blue" operating system update. New Intel chips will support better battery life spans, and there will be new form factors for mobile devices running Windows 8. Prices for future laptops could hit a low of $200, according to Intel.

Strategy Analytics noted that Microsoft's tablet market share has been held back due to "very limited distribution, a shortage of top tier apps, and confusion in the market," according to a press release.

All told, 40.6 million tablets were shipped in the first quarter amid strong demand from business, consumer and education segments, the research firm indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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