Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

Summary: Mainstream consumers buy tablets for many reasons, but rarely because of the OS it runs. This will hammer Microsoft's Windows 8 when it finally appears in the future.


The tablet space is as jumbled as it has been for a while, with the exception of the iPad which continues to blow past the competition. Many companies producing tablets based on Android have discovered the hard way what Microsoft will soon discover with Windows 8 slates. Mainstream consumers buy a particular gadget, in this case a tablet, and not the platform. The average buyer in the street keeps the credit card in the wallet unless a particular tablet grabs his/her fancy.

A new study by Forrester breaks it down with crystal clarity. In just six months, the respondents willing to buy a tablet with Windows 8 inside dropped significantly. Where 46 percent were looking to Redmond for a tablet in the first quarter of this year, only 25 percent were doing so in the third quarter.

I have seen this same response in those primarily looking at Android-based tablets. Outside of the techie world, consumers don't care about the platform. They find something compelling about a particular tablet, whether it be form, price, or something else, and that drives them to open the pocket to make a purchase. One month the latest tablet from Samsung may be the favorite, only to see the new ASUS steal the thunder when announced a month later. Sure they may both run Android, but that is not a factor in the purchase decision for most folks.

This will continue to be a problem for Microsoft with Windows 8 when it is finally released in the future. It doesn't make hardware, and will be totally dependent on the tablet makers to capture the attention of prospective buyers. That hasn't worked too well with Windows Phone, and won't for the tablet space with Windows 8, either. The longer it takes to hit the market, the less relevant Windows 8 will be. The enterprise may be willing to pick up some tablets running Windows 8, but even that is not a given.

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

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  • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

    It might also be because, for now, there isn't much difference between the different tablet OS's, is there? It's mainly app-centric... the big difference with a Windows 8 tablet is that it has the capabilities of a PC, not the one of a phone with a big screen like Android and iOs tablets... so you can actually use Office on it, for example...
    • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

      @_vJo You can only use office on it, assuming you're referring to a previous version of office, if the tablet is running on an Intel X86 processor. If it's running an ARM processor you're bunk. ARM-based Windows 8 tablets will only run Metro Apps.

      And there's no Metro-based Office App. Yet.
      • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

        Microsoft has shown a version of Office working on an ARM processor. I believe it was at CES 2011.
      • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

        @smulji : No Office for metro yet? Obviously. Just like some OS features of Win7 aren't available in Office 2003 [homegroups, favorites]. Office 2012 [?] is expected to be out shortly after Win 8.
      • But they do buy it for the functionality


        You don't understand what the industry standard .NET is.

        With a few calls to the .NET framework, one can easily port from .x86 to ARM7 code. Just like that.

        That's prescient foresight on Microsoft's part.

        Don't forget NT was designed from the ground up as a portable OS.

        The latest NT version 6.2 is in fact Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.

        .NET is Java well done from the start. And is a real worldwide standard (Both ISO/IEC and ECMA) which Java isn't.

        Just wait for the flurry of cool & great software available on the Industry Standard PC today to make its way to real non-crippled toy tablets, more accurately termed mobile PCs.

        App stores funneling you through the walled-garden pay-gate, is over! Do something with it while it lasts...

        .NET Framework
        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        Standardization and licensing

        In August 2000, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel worked to standardize CLI and the C# programming language. By December 2001, both were ratified ECMA standards (ECMA 335 and ECMA 334). ISO followed in April 2003 - the current version of the ISO standards are ISO/IEC 23271:2006 and ISO/IEC 23270:2006.[15][16]

        While Microsoft and their partners hold patents for the CLI and C#, ECMA and ISO require that all patents essential to implementation be made available under "reasonable and non-discriminatory terms".

        In addition to meeting these terms, the companies have agreed to make the patents available royalty-free

        We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think its forever.
        ~ Dr. Carl Sagan, American Astronomer, Writer and Scientist, 1934-1996

        If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.
        {Wise Proverb}

        Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
        ~ John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, 35th President of the United States
    • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS


      Essentially James is saying that people are so stupid they won't buy a useful tablet, but carry around their heavy brick size media player tablets as fashion statements. He's also thinking that everyone has the very low requirements of a blogger - low number of words, short articles and no need for any business apps, although anyone who's tried to type on a iPad flat on a desk with their head hanging down, realises how un-ergonomic it is.

      Having just waded through the flotsam and jetsam of Android phones, trying to find any capable of full HTML5 or running standard HTML correctly, I really appreciate the basic hardware standards of WP7 and the knowledge that once I do a HTML 5 app for WP7 it will work on all the phones. I'll have the same trust in Win 8 and I'll be getting a convertible tablet, since nothing yet replaces a real keyboard for those of us who need to do work ;-)

      If there is any real use for a tablet, then Win 8 will be the obvious choice.
      • Did you even use an iPad?

        @tonymcs@... As a developer whom uses some pretty sophisticated software, I don't really understand what you mean by "real work", that can't be done on a tablet. I've been pretty blown away by some of the software being developed for the iPad. You could pretty much manage the entire LHC from your iPad. In reality, with the proper accessories, there's nothing you can't do on an iPad, metaphorically speaking. All that's required is for you to take your mind out of the 20th century way of doing things and your eyes will be opened to an entire world of possibilities.
        General C#
      • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

        @tonymcs@... well said, and I'm not a Windows zealot by any means. I like what works, and I'm waiting for a Windows tablet.
    • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

      Agreed about the comparison with Windows Phone but people do buy a desktop/laptop based on it's operating system. They go out to first get Windows, then pick the OEM.
    • There *are* office and productivity suites for iOS and Android

      @_vJo Although Microsoft does not make the office suites available on iOS and Android, they're out there and have enough features to rival Word, Excel or PowerPoint. As for me, I use Office2 on iOS and I really love it.
  • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

    Yep, conjecture, I can write a study too.
    • Agreed. here's the whole headline from Forrest

      [i]Consumer Interest In A Windows Tablet Tumbles But Still Leads Android[/i]

      they also go onto to say [i]The numbers are somewhat shocking, but at the same time understandable. In Q1 2011, 46% of potential tablet shoppers wanted a Windows tablet, but in Q3, that number dropped to just 25%. During the same time period, Android???s appeal gained some ground going from 9% in Q1 to 18% in Q3, [b]although it still trails Windows despite the huge number of available Android devices.[/b][/i]

      So what's this blog really about?
      William Farrell
    • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

      Okay. Go ahead, let's see what you got.
  • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

    As I write on my Samsung Series 7 Slate with Windows 8 on it. Every person that I show the writing capabilities to want it just for that reason. Another difference is that Android has multiple versions (up to date) while Windows will be 1 main OS.
    • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

      @Zedox I like my Samsung Series 7 Slate. Makes a decent laptop replacement.
      • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

        @grayknight I also own a Samsung Series 7 State that runs both Windows 7 and 8. It is my ThinkPad X220 laptop replacement. I can do many things almost as fast as the laptop, but I am faster with pen/tablet on Adobe Illustrator. I can write nearly as fast as my keyboard,not bad for the difference in portability. I am very happy with my Wacom Digitizer on logo designs.
  • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

    Did you type this article up on a android tablet, me thinks not!
  • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

    Well they should. It is the OS that is a major factor on how the thing works.

    I find people buy a tablet because they are cute and small/light and are under the impression it can do everything their laptop used to do for them. Depending on what one did with a laptop that could be true and the OS may not matter. Tablets are great personal devices but need a little growing up to do in the education/business/enterprise market. I hope Windows 8 can deliver some of that.

    Until then I will continue to defer the complaints from support calls and walk-ins from people asking me to make their iPads and Tablets do everything their laptop and computer does for them because the salesperson told them it would.
    • RE: Windows 8 dilemma: Consumers don't buy a tablet for the OS

      Unlike desktops and laptops, MS is in the position to build it's own branded phones and tablets. Fortunately for us, they're too stupid to do so.
      • RE: Fortunately for us, they're too stupid to do so.


        The only thing that is stupid is your lack of understanding. If you think for a second that if MS built it's own branded computer or tablet that someone would not instantly call Antitrust then you are more dumb than I thought. Why do you think they are working so hard with OEMs to make "signature" edition computers that are free (or mostly free) of [b]crAp[/b]plications. From what I read they proposed the idea of selling their own "signature" brand of computer and it was shot down as being anti-competitive even though they had no intention of stopping other manufacturers of using the OS license. Essentially Microsoft wanted to make a Crapware free computer and was told they could not so now it is plan B to work with the OEMs to decrappify their computers.

        The same goes for tablets and phones. Thanks to the trolls, lawyers, and organizations like the EU Microsoft is held to different set of rules and standards. Companies like Apple are allowed to make/brand hardware as their own and withhold their software to their products only but other companies are not.