With just 1.5% market share, has Microsoft failed to be a fast follower in catching up with the competitors?
If you were to buy a tablet computer, which one would you prefer? In all probability, you would like to lay your hands on a sleek iPad or one of those Androids. Or maybe an HP TouchPad if it is available at a throwaway price. Well, if your choice is a Windows 7 tablet, Microsoft will only be too happy if you contribute to its miniscule share of the tablet market which stood at 1.5% in the fourth quarter of 2011. And our suggestion would be that you should wait for the launch of Windows 8. Microsoft is losing potential customers who prefer to ignore Windows 7 tablets because of various reasons. Let’s take a look at where Microsoft went wrong and why it failed to make an impact in the tablet market.
Why Windows 7 did not get a big bite of the tablet market?
Windows 7 is basically a desktop operating system and using it on touch screen tablets would obviously not yield the desired results. Squeezing in the hardware required to run Windows 7 in an altogether different form factor of tablets has been challenging for the manufacturers. Also, bigger batteries are required to power the components. The result is that Windows 7 tablets are larger and costlier than their iOS and Android counterparts. No doubt, makers of Windows 7 tablets market them as premium enterprise products. Maybe the developers themselves believe that Windows 7 tablets will not appeal to the retail customers. What Microsoft could have done was to optimize Windows Phone 7 for tablets. But they did not do so and lost an opportunity to increase sales.
Sales of Windows 7 tablets versus iOS and Android
According to a report by Strategy Analytics, in the fourth quarter of 2011, the sales growth of Android tablets was more than that of the iPad. Apple's iPad now has a 58 percent share of the tablet market, while Android’s share is 39 percent. In comparison, Windows 7 tablets have just 1.5% market share. The popularity of the iPad and Android could be attributed to several factors. A primary reason could be the operating systems that were specially designed for portable devices such as tablets and smart phones. These OS make the tablets quite responsive to touch input. There are also thousands of apps that can be downloaded from iTunes Store and Android Market. All this led to the iPads and Androids registering huge sales growth. Microsoft, for some reason, was reluctant to follow the footsteps of the likes of Apple, Google, and Samsung in meeting consumer expectations.
Is Microsoft too late in launching a tablet-friendly OS?
Microsoft probably has an ace up its sleeve in the form of Windows 8 that is scheduled to be launched later in 2012. The new Metro interface of Windows 8 will be touch-friendly and is much more suitable for tablets than Windows 7. But in a market, where the iPad and Android have already taken a huge lead and Kindle Fire looking to give strong competition, Windows 8 could be a late entrant. The first generation Windows 8 tablets will have to take on the might of the third generation iPads and other brands such as Samsung. According to a survey conducted by iYogi, 57% of the tablet users would like to upgrade to Windows 8. This augurs well for Microsoft and one hopes that Windows 8 will be a game changer in the PC, tablet, and smart phone markets. Better late than never.