updated 08:10 am EDT, Wed April 18, 2012
Intel and MS hope iPad loses majority market share
Taiwan-area contract manufacturers claimed Wednesday that Intel and Microsoft have ambitious aims of reducing the iPad's dominance of tablets. The Digitimes contacts understood the Wintel combination wanted the iPad down from 70 percent share, as it has had in the past, to under 50 percent by mid-2013. For Intel, Lenovo's strength in its native China would be a key factor.
Both would operate on the assumption that, similar to the traditional Windows PC model, the sheer volume of Windows 8 tablets would drag Apple's share down. About 32 Windows 8 tablets would be in the market by the end of the year, with Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba all believed in the pipeline. Acer and Lenovo, at a minimum, would try to undercut Apple by pricing tablets as low as $300 while topping out at $1,000. White-box (small and often unknown) vendors may try to go under $300 to fend off low-end Android tablets.
The Intel-based version of Windows 8 would reportedly ship slightly early, in September, while the ARM-oriented Windows 8 RT would come "later."
Whether or not the details reflect the actual goals of Intel and Microsoft, the claim may be optimistic. While Apple's actual market share may be lower, most of the shift has come from Amazon's Kindle Fire. Gartner analysts, while not prescient, also the iPad keeping a comfortable lead for the next few years while Windows 8 would remain a distant third.
Microsoft faces several obstacles to acceptance of Windows 8 tablets, such as their potentially higher overall prices, a lack of native apps at least at first, and a change in public fortune. Some European carriers have called the Windows name a liability which, if transferred to tablets, could see users shun the experience.