Apple's iPad helped reinvent mobile productivity in the post-PC era, but Microsoft is successfully turning its venerable Windows operating system (OS) into a force to be reckoned with in the tablet market, according to a new forecast from Strategy Analytics.
Windows tablets will nab 10 percent of the market in 2015 with 22 million shipments, predicts the analyst group. This year, during the first nine months, shipments of Windows computing slates have already increased at an annual rate of 58 percent. In 2019, 49 million Windows tablets are projected to ship, a 120 increase over 2015's expected shipment volumes.
"It has been a long bumpy road for Windows Tablets but 2015 proved to be the year that Microsoft and its partner OEMs finally got tablets right," said the Newton, Mass.-based Strategy Analytics in a statement today.
Microsoft's long history with IT departments and business users is helping the company make inroads in the competitive tablet market.
"As the enterprise market becomes increasingly open to the wide scale deployment of tablet platforms, Microsoft has a key advantage in that its operating systems are found on the vast majority of PC and servers within the enterprise, potentially providing a smoother integration of tablets using the Windows OS into the enterprise," noted Strategy Analytics research director Peter King. "Most, if not all, major vendors will have high to premium tier Windows Tablet offerings by the end of 2016 to address prosumers and enterprise currently served by Microsoft's Surface Pro line."
There's a Windows tablet for every budget, said Eric Smith, senior analyst at the firm's Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies practice. Options include "2-in-1 Tablets from E-Fun in the US starting at $139 retail, to Microsoft’s Surface Book starting at $1499 retail," he said in prepared remarks.
Another key factor in Microsoft improved position in the tablet market is the latest version of the software giant's flagship OS. "Power, graphics, and functionality aside, Windows 10 provides a stable base from which the ecosystem can grow and we are entering a world where Windows Tablets take significant market share from Android Tablets on the low end and compete head-to-head with iPad in the high and premium segments," said Smith.
Don't expect Apple and its Android-based rivals to stand idly by.
"Android and iOS competitors will not stand still as Windows gains in popularity. Black Friday deals are knocking off at least $100 from iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and LG G Pads, among many other deals around the industry," stated Strategy Analytics. "Furthermore, Apple has strengthened its position among enterprise and prosumer users with the iPad Pro release this month, opening the tablet market to even greater penetration of higher-tier prosumers, creatives/artists, and enterprise users."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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