Analyst: Windows 8 to be in third place in tablet market

Windows 8's new Metro-style touch-screen interface is supposed to be designed for, among other things, the growing tablet PC market. But according to the analyst firm Gartner, Microsoft will have a hard time trying to beat Apple's iPad and the various tablets based on Google's Android operating system. Carolina Milanesi, the research vice president at Gartner, states, "We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014."

As far as Windows 8, Milanesi says, "The current buzz around Windows 8 driven by the demonstrations seen at the BUILD conference might be short-lived if Microsoft’s push to use the new OS across devices comes at a compromise in usability. Moreover, the late arrival might limit its appeal, especially to consumers, as Apple and Android will be more entrenched by then."

As far as sales of tablets in 2011, Gartner predicts that there will be a worldwide total of 63.6 million tablets sold by the end of the year, a huge 261.4 percent increase from tablet sales in 2010. Apple's iPad will have a commanding 73.4 percent of worldwide tablet sales in 2011, according to the report. Sales of Android-based tablets such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab and Motorola's Xoom will take up 17.3 percent of total tablet sales. In a chart predicting sales of tablets in 2015, Gartner believes that the iPad will sell 148 million units and Android based tablets will sell 116 million units. Microsoft's operating system will be a distant third in this prediction with just 34 million tablet sales in 2015.

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