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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  • Rikikrik

    I guess this study shows nothing much. It’s flawed since people we’re asked about which OS they might prefer on a tablet and not what they would actually buy (PC and, or tablet?). When buying a PC most people will come to realize that MS does not sell tablets, but tablet PC’s, which W8 will also be. Since 96% of PC’s are Windows based, many people will realize the luxury of having a tablet PC (two products in one) when they buy or replace their PC with a W8 tablet PC. In the PC market Windows does not have any real competition. W8 will kill the consumer tablet market for Android tablets for sure and will dominate the enterprise market, despite what this study says. Apple will always have a marginal PC market share of 5% to 6%. Google with it’s Chrome notebooks is no challenge at all. By the way news just hit the wires that Office 365 is Microsoft hottest selling product, giving MS headwind in the small bussiness market. Yes, new markets will be Microsoft to take, because of it’s wide and (almost) fully integrated range of products for the enterprise and small business accross devices and across all platforms. Wider and more integrated than products from Apple or Google. Microsoft is not only integrating all it’s products, but also integrating it’s products across all devices and platforms (example Lync and Skype for all platforms, Windows for Mac etc.). That’s crucial in winning souls even on your competitors (Google, Apple) turf. In that sense Windows products is a truly open ecosystem.

  • ECM2

    Problem: delayed release of  windows 8 on ARM tablets (now they are saying it will be released in 2013) indicating that it is not easy to port windows 8 to ARM processors.
    Simple solution: release ARM tablets running windows phone 7.5 or 8 — WP7 already has 50,000 apps.

    Problem: dominance of IOS and android tablets threatening Microsoft market share in the tablet, PC, and eventually enterprise spheres prompting Microsoft to consider porting Office to IOS (and perhaps to Android as well).
    Alternative plan: If WP7 tablets can be made immediately available (which simply entails “scaling up” the wp7 phone, ala scaling up iPhone to iPad and Droid Phone to Droid Tab), then Microsoft might as well port Office to WP7 first and then to IOS and/or Android later