Apple and Android still have Microsoft beat by a large margin when it comes to global tablet shipments, but that doesn’t mean demand for Windows slates hasn’t been growing—even if it is a small market. Recent statistics from Strategy Analytics show that Microsoft has seen an increase in tablet market share following Windows 8’s release in late 2012.
The Redmond-based company held no stake in the tablet market during the first quarter of 2012, but those numbers jumped from 0.0 percent to 7.5 percent after Q1 2013. While Apple still remains at the helm of the tablet market, its numbers saw a sharp decrease between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013—dropping from 63.1 percent to 48.2 percent. Android was the big winner, increasing its share from 34.2 percent to 43.4 percent during the same time period.
Additionally, global shipments of tablets running Microsoft's Windows OS increased from zero in Q1 2012 to three million in Q1 2013. Although Microsoft seems to be gaining some traction among tablet users, the research firm cites “very limited distribution, a shortage of top tier apps and confusion in the market,” as factors that are holding back shipments.
Other than its self-branded Surface and Surface Pro tablets, a wealth of manufacturers such as Lenovo, Samsung, Acer and ASUS have partnered with Microsoft to launch slates based on its new Windows OS.
While it’s clear that Microsoft still has a long way to go to catch up with its rivals, Strategy Analytics’ research shows some indication that there is a demand for Windows 8. The study comes just after the IDC blamed Windows 8 for one of the biggest PC sales slumps in history.
“At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market,” Bob O’Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, Clients and Displays, said to The Wall Street Journal earlier this month.
Microsoft is expected to roll out an update to Windows 8 nicknamed “Windows Blue” that may address some of the software’s criticisms, such as bringing back the operating system’s Start button. The company will reveal more details at its Build conference in June.