Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Time to Close the Book on Windows Tablet?

Consumers’ interest in buying a Windows tablet has plummeted in the past six months, according to a new Forrester Research report on November 29.

Again more very bad news for Microsoft's effort to be part of the new wave of mobile devices. I have been saying for two years that this new device space is war for how new tablet or slate space is imagined: are slates big phones or small computers.

As the Forrester survey above indicates consumer initially saw these devices as small PC but more and more they are starting to image them as extensions of the phone. This is critical for Microsoft to re-establish the tablet as a place for Windows before Android and iPhone change how people think about computing.

Can Microsoft do it? Over the past year in the mobile space Microsoft has gone from failure to failure. But with the legacy of Office documents and SharePoint I suspect that the Office tablet will likely be a Windows tablet.

But time is running out.

Update: I have just spent a week testing Windows 8.  I have been very impressed with it as a possible future  tablet OS.  I also think the weakness of Android in this space opens a large opportunity for Microsoft.  The iPad has created a public desire for tablets as the next platform.  But the iPad fails because it is very much just a large iPhone.  Don't get me wrong, I love my iPad and use it constantly for work.  But I still need to get up and go to my laptop to do heavy lifting work. The iPad is still really little more than a great Kindle.  Windows 8 could be the OS that makes the tablet a work horse for a more mobile future. 


  1. Curious stats in that report. If it were to believed, you would expect Windows tablets to have had the greatest marketshare up to now, which simply isn't the case. Indeed, even with the sharp fall that this shows, you would expect that the number of Windows tablets in the marketplace would ensure it was the dominant tablet platform for a number of years.

    The reality is that in the consumer market, Apple has the mindshare and marketshare, but if this survey is to be believed then Apple should be worried, because the mindshare that is shown in this survey shows them to have less than 1/3 of people considering their platform. That's not a good position for a market leader.

    There could be a positive trend for Apple and Android, indeed that is likely, but trends are notoriously poor when they are based on only 2 sample points!

    I suspect the next version of this survey will show Kindle Fire making inroads as there are already reports of significant Black Friday sales.

    When Windows 8 hits the shelves, you can also expect further disruption to this market as this is the first OS that Microsoft will have launched that looks at all devices as being an extension of the same platform. They will be the only supplier with an OS that spans Desktop/Tablet/Phone with the same user experience. Unless the others pull something out of the hat to do the same.

    Having said all that, it's still not a rosy picture for Microsoft on tablets, but I question the stats here as if I was asked about Tablet OS's I would mention iOS, Android, Blackberry and WebOS as consumer tablet OS's long before I would mention Windows 7.

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