Gartner: Late arrival of Windows 8 might limit its appeal

Gartner warns that Windows 8 tablets won't be iPad killers.

A warning to Microsoft from research firm Gartner that the longer the company delays the release of Windows 8, the less of an appeal it might have with consumers and the more the buzz around the new OS will have worn away.

Basically, the upshot is that the longer Microsoft waits, the more ground iOS and Android gains:

The current buzz around Windows 8 driven by the demonstrations seen at the Build conference might be short-lived if Microsoft's push to use the new OS across devices comes at a compromise in usability. Moreover, the late arrival might limit its appeal, especially to consumers, as Apple and Android will be more entrenched by then. Microsoft's platform will find its biggest opportunities in the enterprise segment, where IT departments could benefit from smoother integration with existing Microsoft software.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, had this to say:

"We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014. This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple's position will be minimal."

In other words, don't expect Windows 8 tablets to be iPad killers.

Gartner also polishes the crystal ball and offers up sales predictions out to 2015:

Gartner thinks Microsoft is going to sell tablets, but it's a small drop in the ocean compared to iOS and Android.