Microsoft grabs 7.5 percent of the tablet market, leaves room for improvement

According to data released by research firm Strategy Analytics, Microsoft has managed to obtain 7.5 percent of the tablet market with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Tablet shipping in general reached an all-time high of 40.6 million units in Q1 2013, a huge climb from 18.7 million reported in Q1 2012. Apple still dominates the market with 48 percent, but Android is close behind with 43 percent of the pie. So what's hindering Microsoft's advance?

Apple has had a strong, well-established hold in the tablet market. The first iPad really created and pushed the tablet form factor forward, as the middle ground between smartphones and the PC. Consumers began to want hardware that was larger and more capable than a mobile phone, but smaller and more compact than a laptop. Microsoft began its marathon stroll after Android saw countless products being released by multiple vendors.

This is why Windows RT was born, but is this not part of the issue? There have been numerous reports, not only from tech journalists but consumers too, detailing confusion between Windows 8 and Windows RT. The main difference between Windows RT and the full version of the operating system is the former runs on ARM chips, while the latter enables consumers to install software not downloaded from the Windows Store.

As well as the potential cause for confusion, Microsoft also has to tackle the whole apps issue again, now on two fronts (with Windows Phone still receiving negative comments about lack of big-brand apps). There was also the issue with Surface shortages, particularly when Microsoft released both versions. Everyone wanted one. But not all is doom and gloom, as is revealed in the following chart:

Tablet Shipments Q1 2013

In 2012 Android was loaded on just 6.4 million tablets shipped, while Apple pulled off 11.8 million. Microsoft has jumped from nowhere to 3 million this year, which isn't bad going for the relatively shorter period of time. Microsoft's plans for the future? They should include marketing, apps, hardware and updates. The company needs to do exactly what it has to do for Windows Phone: pretty much anything and everything. Though there's progress, that's the main point here.

Source: Bloomberg; thanks, bilzkh, for the heads up!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.