Microsoft got into this new generation of mobile devices very late, well…to be fair they started the mobile space with their tablets and Windows Mobile phones. Hardware wasn’t ready for these types of devices in the early 2000’s, they were bulky, capacitive touch wasn’t available, they had poor battery life while being extremely expensive. In 2007 Apple changed the landscape with the release of the Iphone and the release of the Ipad in 2009, Android followed soon with Microsoft’s PC model, in which OEM’s license and install it on their own devices.
Microsoft started with Windows Phone in 2010 and Windows 8 in 2012, many years after IOS and Android became established mobile OS’s in the market, Microsoft is paying the price now and playing catch-up to its competitors. Once a mighty giant amongst its rivals Apple and Google, who were knocking on the door years ago but couldn’t reach the handle to open it, now they grew so big that they completely smashed the door and started to occupy.
According to Strategy Analytics Windows powered tablets captured 6% of global tablet share in Q1 2014, that would equate to roughly 3.5million tablets. Android remains on top with a commanding 66% global share while Apple’s IOS fell to 28%.
Microsoft is fighting back with its recent announcement to give Windows away for free on tablets 9” or smaller, this may provide a major uptick in share due to the OS being free now. Microsoft’s still doesn’t offer its own sub 9” tablet to compete with Apples Ipad Mini and Androids offerings, with the rumoured release of the Surface Mini being sometime in May ,we could see the tablet landscape start to shift more positively for Microsoft.
Total shipments of tablets reached 57.6million unit globally in Q1 2014, up 19% from 48.3 million in Q1 of 2013. Android climbs steadily and commands two-thirds of the market, while Apple managed to ship 16.4 million Ipads, Strategy Analytics believes that Apples iOS platform will continue to lose share over the next few months to refreshed Android devices, but to eventually make a comeback during final months of the calendar.
It will be interesting to see how these tech giants try to make progress in this growing tablet market, and what Microsoft can do to catch up to its rivals. In the past Microsoft used its commanding presence and balance sheet to overcome for being late to the market, and still managed to crush competition, such as Corel’s Word perfect, the famous Netscape Navigator and AOL’s messaging service. It has been said that Microsoft innovates best when playing catch-up, but times have changed and its competitors grew unexpectedly fast and powerful, not only having a commanding lead in market share, but they command the mindshare amongst consumers. What can Microsoft do to overcome this?