Forrester: Windows 8 stops Microsoft’s tablet tailspin, but iPad still in control

by David Needle

October 22 2012

(Forrester's breakout (see chart) shows Microsoft in 3rd place behind Apple & Google in mobile by 2016. Chart: Blue=Microsoft, Orange=Google, Green=Proprietary Android and Yellow=Apple.
(Forrester's breakout (see chart) shows Microsoft in 3rd place behind Apple & Google in mobile by 2016. Chart: Blue=Microsoft, Orange=Google, Green=Proprietary Android and Yellow=Apple.

Microsoft has a lot riding on the launch of Windows 8, which becomes commercially available this Friday.

A new report by research firm Forrester has good news and bad news for the software giant.

A blog post by Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett says that “CIOs and individuals face a market over the next five years where Microsoft still dominates PCs, Apple’s iPad leads the tablet category, and Google’s Android leads in smartphone sales.”

Windows 8 tablets will attract corporate buyers eventually, but it’s simply too late to market to make serious inroads on the iPad’s dominant position.

“Windows 8 is a make or break product launch for Microsoft. Windows will endure a slow start as traditional PC users delay upgrades, while those eager for Windows tablets jump in,” says Gillett.

“After a slow start in 2013, Windows 8 will take hold in 2014, keeping Microsoft relevant and the master of the PC market, but simply a contender in tablets, and a distant third in smartphones.

Forrester estimates that by 2016, Microsoft will have about 27% of tablet unit sales, but only about 14% of smartphone sales. Adds Gillett “and some of us are very skeptical they’ll even get to 14%.” 

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