A new report from IHS iSuppli finds (once again) that Apple controls well over the majority of the tablet market share worldwide as of the fourth quarter of 2011.
But the real story is the how, within three months, Amazon surged past the competition and left all but Apple in the dust.
With the debut of the Kindle Fire, Amazon went from having zero percent of the market share in Q3 2011 (obviously, as they didn't have any tablets -- just e-book readers) to garnering 14 percent of the share by the end of Q4.
That's nearly double than what Samsung posted, which has had several Galaxy Tab models out on the market for some time now. Both Samsung and Asus experienced losses at the hands of Amazon, and the only other brand in the top five to see and increase in share was Barnes & Noble.
B&N was helped largely by a new release of its own. However, Q1 2012 numbers will give us a better idea of where the Nook Tablet stands in the face of its direct competitor, the Kindle Fire, as it won't have the energy of being a new release nor the holiday season to help it.
Interestingly, Rhoda Alexander, senior manager, tablet and monitor research for IHS, explained in the report that Apple's biggest competition wasn't really the Kindle Fire, but another product of its own making:
Shipments of the iPad line fell short of IHS estimates in the fourth quarter as many loyal Apple customers devoted their dollars to shiny new alternatives.
However, the primary alternative wasn’t the Kindle Fire—which debuted to solid sales in the fourth quarter—but Apple’s own iPhone 4S smartphone. The rollout of the iPhone 4S in October generated intense competition for Apple purchasers’ disposable income, doing more to limit iPad shipment growth than competition from the Kindle Fire and other media tablets.
Although Apple lost only a relatively little chunk of its market share, it definitely goes to show that this market is getting more competitive and no one can get relaxed.
Chart via IHS iSuppli
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