Microsoft has missed the boat when it comes to tablets, marketing research firm Forrester reports. According to a new study, consumer interest in a Windows tablet, even one running Windows 8, has plummeted in the last 6 months.
According to the study, Windows 8 is just going to be too late to make a dent. They say that Windows 8 will be, at best, a fifth-rate player in the Tablet Wars, behind even RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook or HP's short-lived TouchPad. This could be a valid concern; by the time Windows 8 hits the market, Apple will have already released the third version of their iPad, along with other competitors like Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
In the first quarter of 2011, a whopping 46% of consumers said that they would prefer a Windows tablet with an interface designed for touch over any of the competing products. Now only 25% of consumers are interested, and it might drop even more before Windows 8 hits shelves sometime next year.
So, is Microsoft too late to the party, or will they be able to play off of their strengths – a large library of capable software that consumers know and trust, like Office – and turn around their prospects, or are hopes for a Windows dominated tablet market DoA? That's something we'll have to wait and see, and it will depend on how the market changes between now and then. Considering how quickly the Kindle Fire came into the scene and changed analyst's projections, who knows what will happen between now and then. If one thing is clear, it's that the sooner Microsoft ships, the better.