Has Microsoft missed the Window for releasing a viable Windows 8 Tablet?

A new study released by Forrester seems to indicate that Microsoft have done themselves real harm by coming to the market late.

Consumers’ interest in Windows tablets seems to be rapidly plummeting. In Q1 2011, Windows was by far the top choice of consumers — while no touch-first Windows tablets existed, 46% of U.S. consumers yearned for one. By Q3 2011, Windows was no longer the No. 1 in choice preference, and interest among consumers dropped to 25%.

Microsoft has missed the peak of consumer desire for their products due to the fact that Windows 8 is not out yet. While Microsoft has been busy developing Windows 8, Apple, Samsung and others have already launched second-generation products and will likely be into their third generation by the time Windows 8 launches.

In addition, newer tablets like Amazon (Kindle Fire) and Barnes & Noble (Nook Tablet) have started reshaping consumer expectations in the market. They have been driving down price points (and concomitant price expectations), and redefining the image of what a tablet is.

Microsoft would do well to have followed the Amazon strategy – get the product out of the door as soon as the demand is there then fix it in iterations once it’s out there.

In addition, they need to make sure that the first generation of Windows 8 tablets are loss leaders and over perform to wow the audience. Microsoft will only not get a second chance to make a first impression and if the jury is not impressed with Windows 8 tablets, it will be a strategic disaster for the company.

To be clear, if Windows 8 tablets are stuck in third place behind Android tablets, that will be a failure. Apple’s IOS and Google Android are really dominant in the marketplace but it’s more realistic for Microsoft to try and upset the Android Operating System as it’s less mature than IOS.

Time will tell…

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