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Summary:

Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning, says Forrester, with nearly half of those who wanted such a device at the beginning of 2011 no longer interested. Time is against Microsoft, but there’s still some hope for success due to both hardware and software strategies.

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Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 percent of surveyed consumers last quarter want such a device, according to a Forrester research report published on Tuesday. That’s down from 46 percent of those polled in the first quarter of 2011. The biggest reason for the decline may be the two-year head start Apple created by designing and offering the capable iPad in early 2010.

At this point, Forrester’s research suggests that Microsoft has fallen behind others, and not just Apple when it comes to tablet demand. In a blog post, Forrester’s JP Gownder paints a bleak picture:

For tablets, though, Windows really isn’t a fast follower. Rather it’s (at best) a fifth-mover after iPad, Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, HP’s now-defunct webOS tablet, and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. While Windows’ product strategists can learn from these products, other players have come a long way in executing and refining their products — Apple, Samsung, and others have already launched second-generation products and will likely be into their third generation by the time Windows 8 launches.

Similar to its onetime leadership in the smartphone market — Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform was popular prior to the iPhone age — Microsoft is now behind on another technology it pushed early. The first Windows PC tablets debuted a decade ago, but outside vertical markets and tablet enthusiast circles, they never really took off. The main issue? Tablets were seen as extensions of the desktop instead of stand-alone mobile devices. Between poor battery life and user interfaces that weren’t optimized for touch, it was generally a recipe for failure.

There is hope yet, however. Again, one has to look at the smartphone market to see it. Although it was slow to react to both Apple iOS and Google Android, Microsoft’s new Windows Phone handset platform is fresh and fun to use. I find the “metro” user interface to be intuitive and finger-friendly, which is good, because Microsoft plans to leverage it for Windows 8 tablets.

Software is only one part of Microsoft’s tablet issue. What about the hardware? Here too, Microsoft is finally looking beyond traditional desktop and notebook processors, which use more power than ARM-based chips that run today’s smartphones and tablets. Windows 8 will support these processors, allowing for devices to run all day on a charge or be in standby mode for a few days.

These two factors by no means guarantee that Microsoft can gain a foothold in the tablet market, and the company will have to work with hardware partners to get the message out: Windows 8 isn’t your father’s desktop operating system. If Microsoft can also work with developers to make the vast array of Windows software more touch-friendly, it could change consumer perception and make a Windows tablet desirable again.

  1. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/knwUuSmt

  2. **** Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Onl… http://t.co/Cf5zDLBs

  3. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/15sn5Cdm

  4. Crunked On Tech Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/fOFh2Jw3

  5. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/ZrNY6XYN @amarchugg #news

  6. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/Bu0Jvnx5 @amarchugg #news

  7. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/jF5SyPcn

  8. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/cZdmcr3M

  9. Ray Informatics Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/12XO3EI5

  10. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/cHdpECS0

  11. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/mOqq8org

  12. Roberts Chapman Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/rOu9Ud5M

  13. Peter Alexandrov Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/GuQPN3uv

  14. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/LD0R3Q2c

  15. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/nIPNCs8p

  16. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/7Gxfloi2

  17. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/AjhwrZyQ

  18. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/JF8PwW2S

  19. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/0p7AK6AV

  20. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/BL5eStY1

  21. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/qbM9eJkZ

  22. amazinginteriors Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/c1fVihLe

  23. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/qtnuk7XI

  24. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/HvuffkoE

  25. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/b2wzfzHp

  26. #Windows 8 #tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/Gd1smqmc @om #mobile

  27. Yasbella Sebastian Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/Yg409Its

  28. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/OfzcNPAw GigaOM

  29. They don’t even exist yet and you’ve already written them off.

    1. Hmm…. I don’t think I’ve written them off here; sorry if that was the takeaway message you got from the post. I still see hope based on the new Windows 8 UI and ability to run on ARM chips.

    2. peoplestilldontgetit JK Tuesday, November 29, 2011

      they do exist, you can buy a developer version on ebay. what a lot of poeple dont get is that is not and ipad like device, its a laptop without a keyboard, ipads and all other pad devices today can not do most laptop functions where laptops can do all pads functions and more. This will be a game changer.

      1. Hmmm…apparently youstilldontgetit. Many of these devices can indeed do the things you say they can’t. For instance, you can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, art, music…the list goes on. Have you ever used any of these devices? Probably not. But I have. Please stop the FUD.

      2. Windows XP and Windows 7 seems to have a good grasp at the medical industry. They have been selling in that sector for years.

  30. gigaom: Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/EGm2M1Eq

  31. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning, says For… http://t.co/2gK49Htc

  32. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/hfYJN3W4

  33. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/r9l7Sa9A

  34. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/osDdjdbd via Kevin C. Tofel

  35. too late “@gigaom: Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/cFSvN3bJ”

  36. RT @gigaom: Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/BL5eStY1

  37. RT @gigaom: Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/BL5eStY1

  38. Wisanu Tuntawiroon Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    RT @gigaom: Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/BL5eStY1

  39. Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning – Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/w9C4dhO7

  40. Jeroen Neckebrouck Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/rFFyd1AK

  41. I find studies like this silly because if those 2300 people had actually played around with Windows 8, that would make them an oddity in the market. Plus, even if you did use the developer preview, there are no apps worth using. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Netflix, etc…

    I classify a study like this as FUD. General consumers only show interest in fully completed products, not betas.

  42. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/n2Uc093p

  43. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/GxvmiwPW

  44. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/KFixpFiO. …. Pretty late

  45. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is … http://t.co/3NFip2xB #tabletpc #ipad

  46. [GigaOM] Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning…. http://t.co/Mc7MhFyH

  47. Web Tech Update Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is waning. Only 25 … http://t.co/qRGSkNuO

  48. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/14UwaIhj

  49. Mohammed Maqsoud Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/asvaxYzK #technology

  50. TabletBuyer.com Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?: Interest in Microsoft Windows 8 tablets is … http://t.co/WLAYenmd #tabletpc #ipad

  51. Given the fact that Apple has mostly captured the minds of the new generation with iOS & OSX devices, MS has a long uphill climb for sure. This is a generational thing. MS doesn’t have that mindshare at this point and that’s something that’s very tough win.

  52. Salazar @ Teelook Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/IqW5JKjg

  53. Just because it has a good interface, doesn’t mean it’s not late. Just look at WebOS. So far WP7 still hasn’t surpassed its 1% market share. WebOS had 4% at one point.

    Also, when Windows 8 will come to market, the x86 version will be irrelevant for tablets. No one will want a tablet with a 3-4 hour battery life and with un-optimized apps for touch.

    As for the ARM version, it would still have to start from scratch regarding apps. Also Windows 8 for ARM makes it a lot harder to compel someone to choose Windows than an iPad or an Android tablet, because there is nothing behind it in terms of ecosystem, and as I said the x86 one will be irrelevant for tablets.

    1. What ecosystem is needed? All the current windows programs that are available now run on Windows Tablets now. You want Office? It is already available. Adobe? Done. Delorme Street Atlas (a real GPS and Mapping program?) I have been using it on my Windows tablet for 3 years now.

      1. CH, you’re right that there are tons of Windows apps that run on Windows tablets now. But haven’t there always been? Meaning: these devices haven’t sold well for 10 years, regardless of the app availability. The bigger problem is getting the apps to be touch-optimized. I say this as someone who has used well over a dozen Windows Tablet PCs in the past: the experience wasn’t good. I expect changes in Win8 to address that however.

  54. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/elZkELRZ

  55. Brett Nordquist Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/VEneHT0o

  56. My current windows tablet is older than the first iPad rumor. Windows is bringing a Computer to the Tablet market and doesn’t need an app store. Amazing that people forget that a Windows power Tablet COMPUTER has been around for a pretty long time and it does and will fill in where the iPad style tablets do not.

  57. RT @gigaom: Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/BL5eStY1

  58. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/UcaiCen6 > IMO if MS delivers a solid 1st tablet, corp will adopt in volume

  59. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/evjJ3ZvK

  60. http://t.co/BLpTJewt Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? – GigaOm

  61. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/HRMR6W8D

  62. Four Moving Tiles Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Silly question. I think we can all agree that Windows 8 and the new WinRT platform will have hundreds of millions of users in a short time after it launches. Hundreds of millions of PCs ship every year with the latest copy of Windows. There will be no shortage of apps and developers for WinRT. So bearing this in mind why would Windows 8 tablets not have serious appeal? There is nothing wrong with the Metro interface or ARM-based hardware that will keep tablet consumers from buying a Window 8 tablet when they are available.

    Microsoft may or may not be able to establish a 90% monopoly of the tablet space like they did with laptops and desktops, but they are definitely going to be a major player in tablets if not grab an instant majority of the sales.

  63. When you look at a device like the 10″ Fujitsu T580 with its Sandy Bridge performance and S-IPS touch display, pairing such hardware with a touch-optimized Windows 8 OS will be a game changer. Granted, we all know such a solution won’t be cheap, but remember you’re getting the guts of a full PC with the functionality of a desktop OS in a mobile form-factor. For those of us that crave productivity and entertainment without the bulk of a laptop and without a handicapped smartphone OS, I’d say Windows 8 will find its uses on slates with many users, not just enthusiasts.

  64. Four Moving Tiles Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Also keep in mind that in buying a Windows 8 tablet there is no risk to the consumer like there was with the Blackberry Playbook or HP TouchPad.

    The Windows App Store is preloaded onto every single Windows 8 PC that ships and the apps are compatible across all Windows 8 computers (tablets, laptops, desktops, all-in-ones, hybrids, etc.) Windows 8 is guaranteed to have good longterm developer/app support for years to come.

    Consumers who bought TouchPads, Playbooks, and Honeycomb tablets got burnt because there was little to no software developed for those platforms. There is no chance that is going to happen to people who buy Windows 8 tablets.

    I think a big component of Microsoft’s strategy is that modern laptops and desktops also start shipping with multi-touch displays and touch pads so that the line between tablet and PC starts to become almost invisible.

    The Asus Tranformer Prime is a device that’s hard to categorize, is it tablet or laptop? I dunno, but it’s perfect for Windows 8.

  65. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/rdKVurVa

  66. Microsoft abandoned business users, like me, and students, but can have us back at any time. I don’t think MS wants us. MS wants to copy Apple only. All MS has to do is bring their great handwriting recognition, and Wacom (for tablets) / n-Trig (for phones & small tablets) digitizers, over to Windows Phone 7, and we’ll buy it. Then, they can integrate it all together with Windows 8.

  67. Robert Sørensen Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/ul28DcgP

  68. My wife and I each have an iPad 2 and I find them to be entirely amazing. However, I always have to carry my Windows 7 laptop around with me because my iPad 2 is completely worthless when it comes to productivity. iOS5 is entirely too lightweight to handle much above media consumption and casual internet surfing. I’m able to schedule my sales appointments and make basic presentations with it, but let’s face it, if it doesn’t run Office, it’s very limited as a business machine. I’m looking forward to Microsoft’s take on the tablet and will be one of the first in line to try it out and hopefully pick it up.

    1. Except all of the rumours are now that there will be Office for iPad shortly, negating the need for a heavy, slow, buggy, noisy OS on your tablet. We’ll see.

      Apple could also make a Transformer-esque device running OSX that would solve all of the productivity problems that supposedly exist with the iPad (I don’t find that to be true, but many do) and seem to only be addressable by “it runs Office!”

    2. Word! ive got an ipad2 a win7 laptop and an android phone. Best tool for the job is what sells me. Looking forward to win8 convertible laptop/tablet combos.

  69. “@gigaom: Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/JJVdOxcq” Un poco tarde seguro pero remontable?

  70. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? — http://t.co/5BBlNXv2

  71. Joris Satyadharma Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/hjwXEWy5

  72. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/yuY5Ojky

  73. Bharat Raghunathan Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/eLhbExYR

  74. Windows 8 Tablet. Too late http://t.co/OpbznXj3 I think MS only really have enterprise market for this, but what’s your view?

  75. I hope some Windows 8 tablets can refresh the market. http://t.co/iP1mcHEO

  76. Too soon to write them off, back in June of 2011 Colin Gibbs wrote about the rise of tablets in the enterprise based on research from GigaOM Pro. He suggested based on the research “This trend is largely driven by end users who prefer to bring their own devices to work, which is creating a fruitful marketplace for both hardware manufacturers and app developers.” Clearly there will be room for many different devices. Not sure I’d trust Forrester Research on this subject anyway.

  77. Mosaic Technology Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    I don’t think it’s late for Microsoft to launch a tablet as long as it offers something bigger and better than everything already being offered. One thing that really might set it apart would be making it very compatible with the Microsoft Office programs.

  78. Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/v0yP13s4

  79. Dino Rafael Alconaba Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time? http://t.co/5RWKu2lH

  80. Do you think people pay attention to fashion. Do fashions change? was there a dos system? do you live at the pinnacle? Will matter and energy stop? or will change always be a part in existence? Late to what? yesterday! I want a Windows8 tablet!

  81. http://t.co/xLudYDbn (Windows 8 tablets: Too late or is there still time?) #in #yam

  82. It would seem there’s a lot of exptectations and hype to fill by tablet forecasters based on no real facts. The recent, 12/2/2011, CNET poll of 1741 potential buyers suugest 45% are waiting for a W8 tablet and 23% are waiting for prcies and specs. That’s 68% who won’t purchase until after W8 ships. The other 32% are fans of Apple or Android already. I think MS can take the age old Unix approach of allowing the user to select a bsh, csh or vsh. So let W8 users select the ash (Aero), csh (cmd( or msh (Metro) at will. Obviously, the msh will work better on touch tablets.

  83. The only ones late to the party will be Android when most everyone is still stuck on Gingerbread when Jellybean arrives. Manufacturers are making a complete mockery of that OS and I hope Microsoft takes note of that and pulls their leash very taught.

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