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12
September
2012

2015 tablet market may be dominated by non-Apple entities

2H2012 will be a prolific year in terms of the amount of tablet PC products released. With the imminent launch of Windows 8, along with growing patent tensions between Apple and Android, however, the battle amongst the different platforms are also expected to intensify.
According to WitsView, a research division within TrendForce, after the 2012 release of Windows 8, Microsoft's market share can be expected to rise from 4% during 2012 to potentially 20% during 2015. Because of Android's patent-related battles with Apple, the long term growth for the tablet market is expected to suffer from a number of obstacles. Windows platformed tablets, though, will still have an opportunity to catch up with the Android-powered products as it eats up 20% of the market share.

According to TrendForce, given the similar status shared by iOS and Android-based products, the Win8 tablet’s incorporation of business software such as Office will not only differentiate it from most other entertainment-oriented tablets, but also allow it to successfully gain a portion of Apple and Android devices’ market shares. Given the iOS’s large arsenal of entertainment content and powerful, software-hardware integrated ecosystem, Android tablets are perceived as having less of a competitive edge.

Even if Google does begin to devote more resources to its ecosystem and develop major hardware and software improvements, the patent war with Apple is likely to create a few long term challenges for the Android system.
Although the future market outlook may turn out in Windows's favor, Microsoft's Surface tablet is likely to create massive waves of changes within the industry.

As stated by TrendForce, Windows will need to create rich software content and have an attractive, consumer friendly price if it wants to have a shot at facilitating the Win8 tablets' initial adoption rate. In addition to increasing the rate at which the Win8 platform obtains its market shares, Window's early establishment of the aforementioned fundamental qualities will also open the door for future app development, in result shortening the time it takes for the Win8 ecosystem to mature.

According to TrendForce, by establishing a uniform interface for desktops, notebooks, smartphones, and tablet PCs, and by placing hope on a new, unique interface, Microsoft has in essence expanded the boundaries beyond which its ecosystem can grow. As the existence of the x86 and ARM platforms means that there will be different hardware operating settings and tablet versions, the extent to which the market accepts the two platforms will be a key issue for Microsoft.

All things considered, Win8’s future is certain to depend on Microsoft’s every move. Whether the company chooses to take advantage of other hardware brands to promote the new platform, or decides to use the Surface itself to compete head on with Apple and Samsung, Microsoft will be in for a tough battle either way.
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