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Microsoft takes top spot over Apple and Samsung in J.D. Power tablet survey

Microsoft has taken the top spot in a recent J.D. Power tablet satisfaction survey, in what is perhaps another sign that Microsoft has found a groove with its Surface lineup. Rated on a 1,000 point scale, Microsoft (855) just managed to edge out Apple (849) and Samsung (847), who came in second and third, respectively.

In speaking on the findings of the study, J.D. Power Vp Jeff Conklin states that the versatility of Microsoft's Surface tablets are the drivers behind much of their success, calling them "just as capable as many laptops" while also functioning as tablets. In terms of features, Microsoft scored the highest across 3 specific areas:

In features, Microsoft is the highest performer in three areas: variety of pre-loaded applications; internet connectivity; and availability of manufacturer-supported accessories. Microsoft Surface users have the highest incidences of accessory use, which underscores the device's versatility. These accessories include a stylus (48% vs. 27% industry average); physical keyboard (51% vs. 14%); and mouse (27% vs. 6%), all of which have higher satisfaction. Microsoft also achieves the highest ratings in these features attributes: variety of input/output connectivity and amount of internal storage available.

J.D. Power's findings include other interesting tidbits, including that Microsoft tablet owners are more likely to be early adopters. The study's findings also point to a younger audience for Microsoft's tablets when compared to its competitors. Microsoft tablet owners are also more likely to place importance on productivity features, the study finds.

The study was based on responses from 2,238 tablet owners and was completed between the months of October and December 2016.

Given the perception of Apple's backslide in the tablet space in recent years, combined with growing interest in the Surface lineup, it's perhaps not surprising to see Microsoft take the top spot in this study. It's worth noting, however, that the margin was still very close between the top 3 spots. Other manufacturers involved in the study, like LG, Acer and ASUS, pulled in scores ranging from 812-836 by comparison.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

70 Comments
  • Some good news at last!
  • that's a 10-4!
  • pseudo good news Doesn't iPad Pro outsell Surface or has that changed?  
  • That's cause there are apple fans that don't want to leave their cult of useless products.
  • But its mostly cuz Apple is the only maker of Mac and IOS products. Windows has TONS of options. More Windows devices are sold but compared to just 1 PC hardware product it doesn't outsell usually.
  • Actually, Apple outsells Windows some quarters. They have been neck and neck for years. I do love my Surface Pro 3 though. I use it more as a desktop than anything though. Rarely do I require a tablet, but it works when I do need one. It is the true 3 in 1.
  • Apple outsells Windows? Do you mean ios outsells Windows? Osx outsells Windows? Cellphones have always outsold Windows.
  • Apple outsells Microsoft these days. More iOS devices are sold than all Windows devices combined! 
  • Because Apple is a hardware company and Microsoft is a software company (and, yes, I know they both make hardware and software).  
  • I don't mean just Microsoft devices. Apple outsells all Windows devices from all manufacturers combined!
  • Considering Android (which has over 5 times the marketshare of iOS) has just barely managed to surpass Windows in terms of marketshare, I find that contradictory and hard to believe, but if you have any sources to back up your claims, I'd honestly appreciate it if you'd link us to them!
  • ~72 million Windows sales Q4 2016 https://seekingalpha.com/news/3027956-pc-sales-strongly-q4-2016-stabiliz... iPhone outsold Windows by itself! https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/31/iphone-sales-q1-2017/ Android just surpassed Windows in number of people accessing the internet. It has easily outsold Windows 3:1 for years. Many of them are just used as phones I assume.
  • The survey was between only Surface and the others not oems
  • Hmm... Well I have been a Surface owner and devoted user since Surface RT (Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3), and I am at the point of giving up on trying to use Windows on a tablet. It has done nothing but regressed. When Widnows Phone died, I bought an iPhone. I didn't like it at first, but it grew on me. My daughters old HP Windows tablet died, and without any good options available, I bought her just a simple iPad Air 2. It's not perfect. There are things that I think should work differently, but you know what isn't there? All the defects of Windows 10 Tablet Mode. I don't ever see the Action Center randomly pop out, or a login screen that takes a PIN, but shows you a full keyboard after you have entered your PIN while you wait for Windows to log you in, or randomly flashing focus rectangles throughout Windows and UWP apps, or Edge... My SP3 is more comfortable to hold than an iPad, but the iPad doesn't give me high blood pressure during normal use, provided I don't ask iOS to do something it can't do. So, unless something radically changes, my next tablet will be an iPad, and not a Surface.
  • It's obvious that there's a market for people who want to do less with the same or more money. Within that 'less' of course we find highly refined features and operation, but unless the iPad changes that and starts daring to make mistakes, it will be the end of iPad very soon, just like it would've been if iPhone hadn't grown up and acquired a larger screen. Yes, they bent and they melted, but iPhone is more alive than iPad for this very reason. Limited, but polished, is dead, and even Apple can't deny this. And yes, there are times at which my SP3 aggravates me when it's bursting in the seams, but it can't compare to the 99% of the time it's the dream machine I always wanted since my days of DOS. I'm a power user, and my iPad is nothing more than a Netflix portal and bathroom magazine for me, and aggravates me 99% of the time for not being able to do anything I consider useful (e.g. CAD, Photoshop and coding).
  • @isaintandrows
    As a very weary and jaded WP nut I'm not sure that comment is in anyway correct.
    At least their OS of choice has a plan, sticks to it, is consistent and despite what we think delivers quality products time after time
  • Plenty of Windows alternatives to Surfaces that offer similar funcionality, no such thing with iPads.
  • do you think the total number of 2-in-1 exceeds the number of iPads sold ?
  • Yes
  • Of course it does. Ipad sales has slumped entirely since the surface line came.
  • I had a Surface 3 and liked it. I would like a refresh of that.
  • there is the Surface Pro 4 and likely a soon to be released SP5
  • I think they are referring to the non Pro line-up that Microsoft kinda-sorta abandoned but not really...  perhaps if you will, ash is to phoenix as Surface 3 is to Windows on ARM???
  • ah of course. I too hope they replace that - I would even love an 8"  
  • Great news, I'm eagerly waiting for SP5
  • My SP1 finally kicked the bucket. Not sure what the deal is, but it won't power on. Hoping for a good looking SP5 soon!
  • Did you do the button reset? I had to do that a few times on my SP1 because it would not come on. One of the volume keys then power. On the right back, through the vent you should see an orange light blinking. They mean something, but I don't remember what. It has been a while.
  • More than likely it's the power cord. There was a recall on the cord, but I think it's the brick that is the problem. Mine is running off of a Surface pro rt cable. It just takes longer. You can find the original on Amazon. Look for the Surface Pro or Pro 2. The rt works, but takes longer to charge.
  • Sold my Macbook Pro a few weeks ago for a Surface Book and just wow....I love the SB and Windows 10 is awesome.
  • Welcome to the club :-)
  • Nice. Yeah, I really don't understand it when I still read negative comments about Win10. Makes me think it's from people who've never used it because I think Windows 10 is the best OS I've ever used.
  • Agreed, I can't go back to an older version of Windows. But every version of Windows has its haters that stick to an older version.
  • Yes...windows 10 IS AWESOME.  I do need apps that are not available on windows 10 however,  so for my tablet I use my ipad.   It connects to westjet better than my computer and surface did and just does more things I would use a tablet for .....but the surface,  if it had the extensive app collection (and they worked like IOS apps),  I would have the surface pro for my tablet. 
  • Westjet.com cant be worse to use, they have a great website.
  • I mean on the plane blackprince.   Not booking tickets
  • You _NEED_ to buy/use apps on an iPad to get some usability out of it. Surfaces have full functionality and more than 11 million pieces of software you can use.
  • giddora you need to lay off the cheap drugs buddy....
  • None taking.
  • Welcome!
  • Planning on getting a SP4 for my last two years of college. Best option in its class.
  • not surprised tho
  • You really can't go wrong with the SP 3/4. The ultimate tablet imho.
  • Ultimate laptop. It is an ok tablet at best.
  • No, it is very good and according to the customers... It is best in class.
  • @bleached
    Plenty of us jaded WP supporters around but seriously, do u ever have anything positive to say ever?
    Y the fk do you thrash these pages everyday when u clearly hate all things Microsoft?
    Makes me think you have an ulterior motive. Paid shill? You'd have to be to be this negative and this persistent, every story, every day.
  • Given these numbers, I doubt that there is any statistical difference in this analysis of subjective impressions of multiple devices that are used for different things by different people. Sorry to burst the bubble, but I am not sure that this survey accomplishes anything except to suggest that people who use MS tablets and iPads are equally happy. Cheers
  • Unless it showed that iPads won, then it would be the whole and complete truth that cannot be denied and anyone who disagrees with Apple's dominance are just showing their hate and jealousy that Apple has created a beatiful work of art why the others do nothing but copy Apple's brilliance. Can you provide any evidence that their sample size is not relevant? This article states that 2238 people were questioned. I did some searching, and those customer satisfaction surveys that always show Apple leaps and bounds ahead of the competition for satisfaction, the ones that Apple fans like to throw about whenever it is convenient to them, had a sample size of 2021. One satisfaction study of the Apple watch had a sample size of a whopping 59 people, and the results of that which showed that AW was the best wearable so we could not argue with that. I don't see why this would prove to be statistically incorrect with a higher sampling rate than those other surveys that are taken as absolute truth when they show Apple beating others, but with a smaller sampling size.
  • What do you think the point of JD Powers is?
  • Nah, it shows that surface owners are the happiest/most satisfied.
  • I am happier with my Dell 2 in 1 than with my surface 3.
  • Bring on 'dem UWP apps!!! ;)
  • If after over 400 million installs and they haven't come, they're probably not coming...
  • (Yawn) Daughter and I love our SP4s mostly in desktop mode, wife is always e-reading on the SP3 in tablet mode, my son is rockin on Roblox and Steam on my original Surface Pro, and we use a Surface 2 as the go-to device in the kitchen. Mother-in-law comes over to the house with her iPad and we're like, "What the hell is THAT thing?"
  • This^
    Two thumbs up!
  • Lol i love it! Thats what my family says when i bring in my Windows stuff, nice to see the roles reversed for a change
  • Deep.
  • Other than craptastic updates I still love my Surface 3 LTE.
  • I can't believe my SP3 is now over 2 years old. It certainly doesn't feel like a device I bought during the 2014 holidays. Apart from scratches that are my fault, it still looks, feels and runs like new. It still runs amazingly with power software I use like Visual Studio, Altium Designer, SolidWorks and VMs running Linux and Windows 7. Even occasional Steam gaming and Photoshop/Premiere pro on-the-go is more than feasible. I mean, I have a workstation running Core i7, GPUs in SLI and massive amounts of RAM, and yet, my i5/256GB/8GB SP3 doesn't feel sluggish at all...
  • Came a long way since the Surface RT and the 1billion write off. Good job, keep up the good work.
  • I still have my RT and it still workd great for what it was designed for. I even use it as a remote for my Roku.
  • I've been down on the Windows phone/mobile situation, but this is genuinely good news.  I really like the Surface hardware and Windows 10. 
  • Me too.
    Been some very hard times but Surface is amazing.
  • I would spend my money on more versatile produce for sure.
  • Excellent news indeed, but I would have personally expected more from taking the top spot, not just by 6 points. Especially for such amazing products. I think if Microsoft was more on the ball with Windows and had a clearer vision going into Surface then it would have been a lot better, and probably would have had the top spot ages ago.
  • Solid!
  • The best part about this JD Powers ranking is just how much it is bugging the crap out of Apple fanbois at MacWorld and other Apple websites. Suddenly JD Powers is meaningless (except that Tim Cook cites them all the time during his earnings calls), the iPad outsells the Surface Pro (Yep, it does. Not the point.) The scores are really close so it doesn't mean anything. (Except last year when the iPad beat the Surface Pro by 1 point, then close scores were not important), There are more excuses too. The constant validation people need for their purchases of cars, electronics, and other stuff is a fascinating thing to watch. 
  • Fanboys of any flavour will do that. I've seen some of it here at Windows Central and am even guilty of doing it myself for Windows Phone. Though I have since mellowed out.
  • i love Surface it could be very well my next PC, is it good for office work? Word, Email...
  • pricing is insane though
  • The surface pro is better than the ipad pro. High end devices that most people don't care about. What does Msoft has that compares well to the $329 newest ipad? Nothin....