Microsoft blamed for slow tablet sales

Microsoft blamed for slow tablet sales

Summary: One year after Microsoft launched its tablet PC operating system, sales have been disappointing, the choice of models is still poor, and software developers have no incentive to create specialist applications, according to a report by research firm Canalys.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Microsoft
1
One year after Microsoft launched its tablet PC operating system, sales have been disappointing, the choice of models is still poor, and software developers have no incentive to create specialist applications, according to a report by research firm Canalys.

HP, Acer and Toshiba launched tablet-PC hardware at the same time that Microsoft launched its Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, but after a promising start, sales have fallen sharply with analysts and manufacturers blaming Microsoft for charging too much for its operating system.

Chris Jones, senior analysts and director at Canalys, said that Microsoft isn't doing enough to help Tablet PC vendors, particularly in Europe: "Rather than pricing the Tablet PC OS at a premium, adding to the vendors' costs and the end-user price, it should be doing the opposite: subsidising the vendors to help them get the market up and running," he said in a statement.

Last week, Acer's president Wang Chen-tang also pointed the finger at Microsoft for charging too much: "Microsoft should put more effort into working with vendors in marketing tablet PCs," he said as the No. 2 maker of tablet PCs admitted it had sold only 100,000 units in a year, which is just 5 percent of its overall notebook sales.

In Europe, the picture is even worse, with less that 100,000 units shipped in total during the year. According to Canalys, HP is the leading vendor, having shipped around 28,000, which makes up 31 percent of the market. Acer comes in second with 23 percent and Toshiba is third with 16.5 percent. Overall, in Q3 of 2003, shipments fell by 20 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Jones said that while the market for tablet PCs remains small, software vendors will remain reluctant to develop applications specifically for the platform. "If the Tablet PC is to become a significant part of mainstream mobile computing, and we think it can be, Microsoft needs to help its partners invest, promote, develop and expand their offerings," he said.

ZDNet U.K.'s Munir Kotadia reported from London.

Topic: Microsoft

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I told you so!

    I've always said this was a bad idea, but all those stupid companies who believe in the infallibilty of MicroShaft ignored common sense and now they are taking up the poop chute.

    Other than the intuition that TabletPC's would be overpriced toys with maybe some niche appeal, I found out that handwriting on paper maxes out at about 20 words per minute. It's not hard to learn to type MUCH faster than that.

    MicroShaft is not as smart as most people think. Their enviable position came as a result of luck, theft, bullying and employing the strategies of drug-dealers and Mafiosi, but certainly not from innovation and creativity.

    Next time, I warn you MoFo's that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, I suggest you listen. I ought to get paid to be an "analyst."
    anonymous