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Microsoft Finally Gets Tablets Right, Report Contends

This is the year that “Microsoft and its partner OEMs finally got tablets right,” Strategy Analytics contends.

The research and consulting company pointed to a 58 percent annualized gain in global Windows-tablet shipments in the first nine months of the year. For the year, the research and consulting company forecasts 22 million shipments to account for 10 percent of global tablet share.

“The success of two-in-one tablets and professional-grade slate tablets like the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 4 will introduce more stability for overall ASPs and [provide] a path for many tablet vendors to reap higher profit margins,” the company added. “Premium-price-tier tablets will play an important role in the market, particularly in the enterprise market and as PC replacements in general.”

In 2019, Strategy Analytics forecasts shipments of 49 million units, up 120 percent from 2015 levels. Windows tablet share will rise to 18 percent from 2015’s 10 percent as iPad share posts a minor gain to 23 percent from 22 percent and Android’s share drops to 59 percent from 68 percent.

“Windows Tablet market share has dwindled in the mid-single digit range for the last few years, but Windows devices now run the gamut from two-in-one tablets from E-Fun in the U.S. starting at $139 retail to Microsoft’s Surface Book starting at $1,499 retail,” said senior analyst Eric Smith. The industry is “entering a world where Windows tablets take significant market share from Android tablets on the low end and compete head-to-head with iPad in the high and premium segments.”

Windows tablets will put forward “a more balanced approach than Android’s mass-market, low-cost appeal but will nevertheless produce many millions of sub-$150 wholesale ASP tablets, contributing to growing market share,” the company added.

At the same time, “most, if not all, major vendors will have high- to premium- tier Windows tablet offerings by the end of 2016 to address prosumers and enterprise currently served by Microsoft’s Surface Pro line,” said research director Peter King. “As the enterprise market becomes increasingly open to the wide-scale deployment of tablet platforms, Microsoft has a key advantage in that its operating systems are found on the vast majority of PCs and servers within the enterprise, potentially providing a smoother integration of tablets using the Windows OS into the enterprise.”