Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

Summary: I hear from quite a few readers that they think Windows 7 tablets are the cat's meow. But it looks like more people than not agree with me that those tablets are just not what the majority find palatable.

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I hear from quite a few readers that they think Windows 7 tablets are the cat's meow. But it looks like more people than not agree with me that those tablets are just not what the majority find palatable.

According to numbers released on June 21 by Boston-based research firm Strategy Analytics, global tablet shipments reached 15 million units in the second quarter of 2011. Apple maintained first position with 61 percent share -- down substantially from 94 percent a year earlier. Tablets running Android, meanwhile, zoomed to 30 percent operating system share from 3 percent in the year-ago second quarter.

What about Microsoft, which has a number of partners selling Windows 7-based tablets, aimed primarily at the business market? Windows 7 tablet share grew from zero percent in Q2 2010, to 4.6 percent in Q2 2011, Strategy Analytics said. Windows 7 tablets were slightly more popular than the RIM Playbook running QNX, which also grew from zero percent share in Q2 last year, to 3.3 percent this year.

Here are Strategy Analytics' qualifiers for these numbers: "Shipments refer to sell-in. Numbers are rounded. The definition of tablet does not include e-book readers." (I believe this means these are shipments to the channel, not end users. If I hear otherwise, I'll update.)

Microsoft's "real" iPad competitor is going to be Windows 8, which isn't expected to come to market until mid-2012, at best. But that isn't stopping a number of Microsoft OEMs from continuing to release Windows 7 tablets in the interim. Microsoft has backed away from touting slates running the Windows Embedded Compact operating system as potential iPad competitors.

Microsoft has encouraged its partners selling Windows 7 tablets against the iPad to emphasize Windows 7 tablets' security, compliance abilities, enterprise-networking and line-of-business application compatibility.

Microsoft officials are adamant that tablets are basically PCs -- a positioning statement with which I (and a number of other Microsoft watchers, customers and partners) don't agree. Because of this position, Microsoft is preventing its OEMs from putting the Windows Phone OS on tablets, and is licensing to tablet makers the full Windows operating system instead.

See also:

Topics: Software, Hardware, Laptops, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Tablets, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

    Having used tablets exclusively for nearly 7 years, I agree wholeheartedly with Microosft's strategy (the pen is mightier than the thumb). I can just hear what the pundits would have said if Microsoft would had made their phone OS available for tablets: "Microsoft adopts a weak "me-two" strategy with Windows Phone for tablets...the eco-system for Windows Phone tablest is less than 1-10th of the iPad..." and on and on. Google Android has the weak me-too stuff covered if you ask me.
    cliffbrooks@...
    • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

      @cliffbrooks@... I completely agree with you. I wish Mary Jo (and a number of other Microsoft watchers, customers and partners) would take a more forward looking approach. Windows Phone is an awsome OS but to compete with the iPad, Microsoft must find a way to offer up a better value other than "it looks different".
      rwalrond
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @rwalrond
        And you claim that Win7 with enlarged buttons is THE answer to the iPad?

        lol lol lol
        przemoli
      • MaryJo is clearly forward-looking, it's MSFT that isn't

        @rwalrond No one has ever denied that there's a market for tablet PCs running full versions of Windows. The problem is that it's miniscule. The success of the iPad, and to a much lesser degree the Android tablets, shows that there's a much larger market for lighter weight devices with less bulk, simpler interfaces, and low-cost, if lower function, apps that can be quickly and easily added.

        While it would be an oversimplification to say that Microsoft is beating a dead horse, it's clearly abusing an underweight pony.
        matthew_maurice
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @rwalrond
        There's a number of my colleagues and I, who haven't gotten a tablet because we want a full featured OS, not a giant iPhone. The only tablet I've considered is the Asus EEESlate because I know I can use most of my PC software on it. I just don't find value in a $500-600 device just to use it as an e-reader and play Flight Control.
        Those who hunt Trolls
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @matthew_maurice, I'm sorry but there must be some room for a Windows tablet optimized for the hardware of today. Considering how many PC's are sold each year, Microsoft would only have to convince %10-%15 of those users to buy a Windows 8 Tablet to become a major player in the current tablet space. Doesn't seem like that difficult of a task.
        rwalrond
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @przemoli, W8 is not an Answer to the iPad. Microsoft Windows PC sells 10x as many units as Apple sells iPads. Microsoft needs to provide an OS for the next generation of Windows PC's. The user will decide the form factor they want. It's easy to laugh now, but in reality, Microsoft is smart for attacking this market from their possition of strength and that is that 90% of computer users use Windows.
        rwalrond
      • I agree too.

        @ rwalrond

        Passing any sort of judgment on Microsoft's tablet strategy at this point in time doesn't make sense at all. The market for x86-based tablets is limited for several reasons, including in particular power requirements, size and price. Both iOS and Android run on low-power and relatively inexpensive Arm hardware today, but Windows won't do that until Windows 8 ships next year.

        With Windows 8 on the way, anyone interested in a Windows tablet who doesn't need it immediately will be waiting. In the interim, an iPad or Android tablet may even make more sense as a stop-gap device. In smartphones as well, since the Nokia/Microsoft announcement, both Nokia and Microsoft have been sort of put on hold as well. Why would anyone buy a current Symbian-based Nokia or a non-Nokia Windows Phone when the Nokia Windows Phones are on the way?

        I'm one of perhaps many who are waiting for Windows 8 and Nokia Windows Phones before deciding on a tablet and my next smartphone, respectively. After Nokia Windows Phones and Windows 8 have out for a few months, we can talk about whether or not Microsoft's strategy is working. Right now, it's just pointless and speculative babble.
        WilErz
    • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

      @matthew_maurice "No one has ever denied that there's a market for tablet PCs running full versions of Windows."

      More importantly, no one has ever shown that there is a market!
      His_Shadow
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @His_Shadow According to the title of this blog post, MS has 5% of the market. Oddly enough, that's what OS X has had for the last decade.

        Let me guess though, Apple's 5% is much better than MS's 5%, right?
        rtk
      • More importantly, you haven't shown you understand the market.

        @His_Shadow

        At 5% there must be something. 5% is bigger then 0%
        William Pharaoh
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @His_Shadow

        Try looking at Asia and you'll see the market. There are no native tablet systems for Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Thai languages - around 50% of the global market. Telling a Chinese that in order to enter text in Chinese they need to learn English is really, really dumb.
        Major Plonquer
    • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

      @cliffbrooks@...

      Well, I don't particularly like the current crop of Win7 tablets that I have had the chance to play with. The hardware is just a LITTLE too big and power hungry, and Win7 just isn't touch friendly enough.

      But at the same time I really miss having a full-power OS and full-power Apps on my iPad. And I love Metro on my phone.

      The thing about the Windows-On-A-Tablet strategy is that it is a somewhat longer play than most people see. If they can get Win8 on gen one iPad style hardware (size, weight, heat, battery) they will probably have my dollar. But that is just gen one.

      Fast forward 5 years or so, and the size difference needed between an iOS device and a WinXX device won't matter because both will be very thin and very light. I won't care at all if it costs me an extra half-ounce to run Windows. But iOS still won't have full-desktop functionality and WinXX will. Unless they build it into iOS but that removes the differentiation.

      I think the time period where stripped down OSes were mandatory for good tablets is already drawing to a close and from there it is simply an argument of simplicity vs functionality. My hope is that in 5 years both iOS tablets AND Windows tablets are popular. (Android too!)
      SlithyTove
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @SlithyTove
        Honestly, I like the Asus EEESlate I played with at the Microsoft Store. It it slightly larger and it is a couple of hundred more expensive but it's pretty powerful and still has really good battery life. Full functionality and the power of a fairly good laptop, I would mind paying good money for.
        Those who hunt Trolls
    • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

      @cliffbrooks@...
      If the strategy is low volume niche business tablet with 5% mobile share, then fine - this shows that strategy they've been persuing for nearly the last decade has worked! I doubt they are happy with this. The average person wants a full featured PC/laptop and an easy to use, low power, quick, finger touch consumption type device.
      A windows 8 metro tablet on ARM cannot run windows legacy apps. It will be just like windows phone 7 on a tablet and will suffer a similar fate as the phone. If you are running an x86 tablet then you can theoretically get the best of both UIs, but it will still have to be big bulky, hot with short battery life and require antivirus. These will be no more popular than the current winxp/7 tablets.
      deathjazz
      • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

        @willyampz <br>@willyampz <br>I'm not sure what Microsoft's strategy has been...what I'm saying is that it's time for them to change their strategy. They have the OS, and the hardware (even better options with 8), they just need to execute. Nitch it if you will. But nitching doesn't mean 5% of the marketplace in my estimation. The nitches I'd go after include students (OneNote can be used to take handwritten notes, search on handwriting, record lectures, store EVERYTHING, etc.), office workers (meetings, developer diaries, etc.), artists, and writers. Each niche, by itself, is significant. Imagine if they went after all of them?<br><br>Having used tablets to their fullest, I've seen the power of the pen and the power of options. I nearly always use a keyboard for email, unless I feel like handwriting something special or doodling a cheery greeting, in which case, I swivel into slate mode, pop the pen from its silo, and go to town. When I'm, done, I swivel back, redock the pen, and use the keyboard until it's again time to put the pen to work. <br><br>I most often use the pen to design things and take notes (okay, and doodle). In addition, when writing fiction I often use the pen, letting the excellent handwriting recognition engine convert it to text in Word.<br><br>That, in my estimation, is powerful.
        cliffbrooks@...
    • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

      @cliffbrooks@...

      The pen is mightier than the thumb. I like that.

      I too have been using tablets since 2003 and I just can't understand why anyone would want an iPad or Android tablet. What? No OneNote? No Photoshop? No Mindmanager? OK, it has a browser and can browse the Internet. Well, the bits of the Internet without Flash.

      They are NOT tablets. They're READERS. The term 'tablet' came from 'writing tablet'. I don't care what Steve Jobs' marketing department tells me, if I can't write on the thing then it's functionally useless.
      Major Plonquer
    • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

      @cliffbrooks@... It's interesting to note that in the comments here the people who slag off Windows tablets are people who've never used them while those of us who use them universally like them. The problem is NOT Windows. It's just that Intel can't get their act together to make suitable low-power consumption hardware.
      Major Plonquer
  • RE: Report: Microsoft worldwide tablet operating-system share at 5 percent

    @Aerowind

    Agreed.
    kenosha77a
    • And I would say this discussion is not warranted since that ...

      @kenosha7777: ... <b>'Strategy Analytics' did not know a thing about actual tablet sales</b> so they waited for Apple to tell sales figures before releasing their "research".

      As another factor, you might wonder how they came up with 4.5 million Android tablet sales. This seems to be totally made up, guess-at-best number that comes from nowhere. Even you add all Xooms to GalaxyTabs and smaller players together, you can not get any close to that figure.
      DDERSSS