People Are Losing Interest In The Microsoft Tablet, And It's Not Even Out Yet

ballmer windows 8 tablet

Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger

The iPad has already taken about 11% of the PC market, and by the time Microsoft and its partners get around to releasing a real competitor next year, it may be too late.That’s what a new study from Forrester Research suggests. Near the beginning of 2011, Forrester surveyed 3,835 consumers who were considering buying a tablet. When asked which operating system they’d like on it, 48% said Windows — well ahead of iOS (16%) and Android (9%). The second most popular choice was “undecided” with 16%.

In September, Forrester asked the same question of a different group of 2,229 consumers. This time, iOS came in number one with 28% of the vote. Windows had only 25%, and Android was at 18%. A whole 24% were still undecided. (Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet has the full numbers.)

Overall, interest in Windows tablets dropped 21 percentage points in six months.

The study is probably a little bit skewed in the first place — a lot of consumers may not have known what operating system the iPad runs, or heard the words “operating system” and naturally thought “Windows.” That perception naturally got corrected to reflect actual sales as the iPad gained more traction throughout the year.

Also, it doesn’t mean that Windows 8 will be a flop — after all, people still buy about 400 million (!) PCs every year, and most of those will still run Windows.

But it shows a real perception shift: consumers are thinking of tablets more like smartphones, and less like PCs. That perception could carry through to the next time they’re thinking of buying a new computing device.

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