We often seem to focus on Microsoft’s Windows tablet versus the iPad. Since iPad is the leader of the market, I suppose this makes sense. At the same time, Microsoft has proven in the past that they are forward-thinking and know how to play a market.

They haven’t been successful in the tablet world yet, but Windows 8 is a huge push in the right direction. Now it is time for baby steps. Before you can walk, you must learn to crawl after all.

Finding their own path is important.

Competing against iPad directly shouldn’t be a goal for MS- not yet. What about Android? Android has a small marketshare in tablets, but they focus on 7-inch budget devices. Nothing I’ve seen so far suggests a price point any lower than $400 for a Windows 8 tablet. At this price, competing with Android for the low end market doesn’t make sense.

Okay, so where do they need to focus? I see Microsoft’s opening into the tablet world all about choosing the right target group. Where can Microsoft’s new OS outdo the competition?

Here are three areas that they should focus on:

Gaming: Gamers know and love Microsoft. Xbox is an established entity, and even PC gamers might find the idea of a Windows-based tablet more appealing for mobile gaming. Microsoft has already announced a large amount of Xbox Live titles and so it seems they already understand how important this market could be for them.

Gamers also don’t mind paying $400-$900 (or even higher!) pricing for what they feel is a decent rig for their needs. The fact that higher-end tablets can run i7 processors and dock into a keyboard/mouse/laptop solution for gaming also makes them appealing here.

Enterprise: Businesses aren’t sure what to think of Windows 8 just yet. That being said, many companies use specific in-house software solutions that might not have iPad/Android equivalents readily available.

The backwards compatibility functions of x86 tablets could be enough to appeal to the Enterprise. Showing that they are secure and powerful will go a long ways as well.

Families: Families know Microsoft. Many families have an Xbox 360 and Kinect in their living room for family game night. Most have one or two PCs loaded with Windows for family needs, or for kids to do their homework.

Tablets are on the rise, and many families are buying cheap Android tablets. They don’t want to spend a fortune necessarily for a basic family tablet. If Microsoft can release a decent $300-$500 tablet that is designed for the multi-user home, it could go over well. Windows 8 already has several family-oriented user settings, so they are certainly laying the groundwork here.

Some families are also buying iPads because they have so many great apps for younger children. These families could be more than happy to pay above $500 for a good Windows tablet if it can prove a better experience and allow better multi-user sharing.

It’s not about pricing, it’s about targeting users that are currently having their demands met fully. Android and iPad tablets are appealing to gamers, families and enterprise already- but there is certainly room for improvement in these areas. These areas that Microsoft has the potential to excel in.

What do you think? Where do you want to see MS focus with their upcoming Windows 8 tablet campaign?

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  • Phil

    Artists. Throw a Wacom digitizer in a lightweight, affordable, Windows tablet and you have what just about every artist have been waiting for for decades.

    • Andrew Grush

      You know… I feel really stupid for not mentioning artists. Now that you say it, yah, it’s painfully obvious that Windows tablets would be ideal for artists and designers.

      Great point!