Microsoft's Windows 8 on tablets will trail Apple's iPad and tablets running Google Android by 2015, according to a new Gartner report.
Microsoft will place a distant third in worldwide tablet
sales by 2015, according to new research from Gartner, which also predicts
Apple's iPad will maintain its lead despite a burgeoning number of Google
"We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout
our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until
2014," Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, wrote in a Sept.
22 statement accompanying the research note. "This is because Apple delivers a
superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and
Competitors need to offer something similar, she added, if
they want to carve away market share from
Apple. "Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned
for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen," she wrote.
"This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no
compromise in experience among the different models."
For the past few weeks, Microsoft has unveiled aspects of
its Windows 8 operating system, which is being designed to run on both tablets
and traditional PCs. It will do so by offering two distinct user environments:
the desktop, instantly familiar to anyone who's used Windows, alongside a
touch-enabled interface featuring colorful tiles that link to applications.
Microsoft executives have spent considerable time over the
past few weeks trumpeting Windows 8's "no compromises" ability to provide both
a lightweight mobility experience and the sort of features desired by power
users. But Gartner's analysts seem to be reserving judgment for the moment.
"The current buzz around Windows 8 driven by the
demonstrations seen at [September's] BUILD conference might be short-lived if
Microsoft's push to use the new OS across devices comes at a compromise in
usability," suggested the firm's research note. "Moreover, the late arrival
might limit its appeal, especially to consumers, as Apple and Android will be
more entrenched by then."
Windows 8 is expected to release sometime in 2012, although
Microsoft has offered no exact date. An executive at a major Microsoft partner
recently told eWEEK
that the operating system would arrive on devices sometime
in the second half of next year.
No matter how well Windows 8 fares in the tablet arena,
Gartner suggests it will do far better than Hewlett-Packard's
webOS and Research In Motion's QNX. HP recently made the decision to terminate
production of its TouchPad tablet, which ran webOS,
although the company apparently wants to license the mobile operating system to
other companies. RIM's PlayBook tablet runs
QNX, although the device's sales have proven anemic in comparison to those for
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