updated 12:15 pm EST, Tue November 29, 2011
Forrester study says Windows 8 tablets too late
Microsoft's hopes of reclaiming the tablet space with Windows 8 may be overly optimistic, Forrester Research uncovered in a study Tuesday. Out of 1,810 Americans asked this summer, only 10 percent would consider a Windows 8 tablet if it were available now. The rank put it at the same level of interest as the ailing BlackBerry PlayBook and below the then-selling HP TouchPad at 16 percent.
Apple, meanwhile, was still in the clear lead for consideration at 61 percent. Amazon's custom interpretation of Android was next at 24 percent, beating out more powerful, conventional Android tablet platforms from Samsung (21 percent), Sony (13 percent), and Dell (12 percent). Microsoft was considered in front mostly of companies who hadn't fared well in Android, such as LG, Motorola, and Toshiba (all at nine percent).
Among most preferred platforms, Microsoft had actually had a chance at the lead but has since lost it. At the start of 2011, 46 percent of users thought they wanted Windows on a tablet. As of the end of the year, that number was down to 25 percent. Apple was now in front, having jumped from 16 percent wanting iOS on a tablet to 28 percent, while Android was on the way up at 18 percent.
Microsoft's problem, Forrester said, was its conservative, reactionary approach. The company was a "fifth mover," waiting until everyone else had gone first. Its arguments of having a superior choice were somewhat negated by its own timing, since the release in mid-2012 at best would pit Windows 8 against a third-generation iPad, a second-generation Galaxy Tab 10.1, and possibly a second-generation BlackBerry PlayBook.
Even arguments for Microsoft's synergy wouldn't necessarily hold up. Microsoft couldn't count on a 'halo' effect for Windows 8 spurring Windows Phone adoption or the opposite, like the iPhone and Mac, Forrester said. Corporations, often considered Microsoft's base, were adopting iPads on a larger scale than Windows tablets and were also more receptive to other Apple products.
Microsoft's share could change as Windows 8 gets closer to release and more of the public becomes aware of the OS. The new findings, however, show that it doesn't have an automatic pass on acceptance and that it will need to be genuinely competitive with the iPad and other devices in prices and features, not just bring a new OS on top of conventional Windows tablet designs.