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Here’s why Windows 8 tablets shouldn’t be written off yet

by Doug Drinkwater

May 24 2013

Supply chain sources believe Windows 8 tablet shipments could hit as high as 20 million units this year
Supply chain sources believe Windows 8 tablet shipments could hit as high as 20 million units this year

The tablet market won’t be a two-horse race between iPad and Android for much longer, judging by a new report.

Taiwan-based supply chain makers recently told Digitimes that Windows 8 tablets will grow to account for 5-8% of all tablets shipped globally in 2013, a percentage which they believe would equate to around 10-20 million units.

This number would come as a welcome surprise to Microsoft, which reportedly shipped 1.5 million Surface Windows 8 tablets in the first six months, but would perhaps surprise some market researchers.

Back in March, IDC forecast that Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets would grow to represent just 10% of the tablet market by 2017, while Strategy Analytics painted a slightly more positive picture one month later. The firm said that 3 million devices shipped in the first quarter of 2013 (note: these were “sell-in” figures, so to retailers and resellers).

Not that such a drastic growth would go unexplained, though.  In recent times, Microsoft is said to have discounted Windows 8 licensees to OEM partners and relaxed hardware guidelines to allow for smaller Windows 8 tablets, move which could see the introduction of sub-$300 tablets with 7-inch and 8-inch displays later this year.

The Taiwanese sources do not expect the rise of Windows 8 to coincide with a dip in demand for Apple’s iPad, however. They believe that Apple will achieve a shipment growth this year with iPad and iPad mini shipments rising to as high as 100 million units.

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