Microsoft released the Surface tablet in late October to considerable fanfare, but consumer demand and sales of the device have not been very good to say the least. It’s no wonder that a new Bloomberg report claims that the Microsoft-Intel push to compete with the iPad has gotten off to a slow start.
Apple is still dominating the tablet industry with its iPad, while the release of the iPad mini has not helped Microsoft whatsoever. Google is also becoming more competitive in the tablet market, releasing both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 this year.
Even worse, it’s difficult to track down Windows-based tablets that are built on ARM chips or Intel processors. The scarce availability of Windows 8 tablets has all but helped the iPad maintain its position atop the industry this holiday shopping season.
Plus, there are a limited number of options to choose from: Microsoft’s Surface, Asustek’s Vivo Tab RT, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga, Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC and Acer’s Iconia. And with little to no marketing of these tablets being done by Microsoft’s manufacturing partners, sales remain poor.
“You can hardly even find one,” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at market researcher IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts. “So even if you wanted to buy it, it would be difficult.”
While more options are coming, such as a Windows RT tablet by Dell in December, it’s evident that Microsoft still has a lot of work to do to cut the gap between the iPad and its own product offerings. But that is what happens when you enter an already saturated market three years late. For now, the iPad remains the benchmark.