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Windows Tablet Market Share Grows Despite Weak Windows RT Sales

Windows is now installed on 4 percent of all tablets (1.8 million licenses sold) in the second quarter. However, Windows RT only shipped on 200,000 systems, mostly Microsoft's Surface RT, IDC reported today.

The findings in IDC's second-quarter Tablet Tracker report presented the latest stinging data point that systems with Windows RT are not catching on with consumers, business users or IT pros despite rapid growth during the same period for iPads and Android-based tablets. Because the second quarter ended June 30, the numbers don't take into account the fact that Microsoft last month slashed the price of its Surface RT devices and took a $900 million charge on the extra inventory.

But it doesn't look likely it will have a dramatic effect on the next quarter. "We don't see [Windows RT] making traction at all," said IDC program manager Ryan Reith, in an e-mail. "The bigger problem is hardware partners are beginning to shy away from the platform as they don't see consumer demand or its fit in the industry."

As for tablets running Windows 8, Reith is more optimistic. "As we have said all along, uptake for Windows 8 will be slow but eventually it will stick," he said, acknowledging the latest quarterly report is unlikely to silence critics. "Windows 8 is slowly making progress but it's a huge focus point for the industry and media with a very large target on its back, so I'm not quite sure it has come even close to meetings critics' needs."

Indeed the 1.8 million tablets running Windows 8 pale in comparison to the 14.6 million iPads sold and the 28.2 tablets loaded with Android, which respectively account for 32.5 and 62.6 percent market share.

Meanwhile Microsoft over the weekend quietly cut the price of its Surface Pro tablets by $100 bringing it down to $799 for a system configured with 64 GB of storage and $899 for a 128 GB version. Keep in mind that doesn't include the price of keyboards, which can add $129 (for the Type version).

While the latest price cut on the Surface Pros may help move the needle a tad, I'm still betting a forthcoming version with Intel's Haswell processors will offer more appeal to users, presuming they offer the all-day battery life that CPU promises. Current Surface Pros only run about 4-5 hours, limiting their appeal.

Top Tablet Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Second Quarter 2013 (Shipments in Millions)

Vendor 2Q13 Unit Shipments 2Q13 Market Share 2Q12 Unit Shipments 2Q12 Market Share Year-over-Year Growth
1. Android 28.2 62.6% 10.7 38.0% 162.9%
2. iOS 14.6 32.5% 17.0 60.3% -14.1%
3. Windows 1.8 4.0% 0.3 1.0% 527.0%
4. Windows RT 0.2 0.5% N/A N/A N/A
5. BlackBerry OS 0.1 0.3% 0.2 0.7% -32.8%
Others 0.1 0.2% N/A N/A N/A
Total 45.1 100.0% 28.3 100.0% 59.6%

Source: IDC

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/05/2013 at 1:21 PM


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