Tablet computers, for which read Apple’s iPad at the moment, have grabbed an astonishing share of the market in the two years or so since Apple launched the iPad with UK sales soaring, three quarters of which are iPads.
Next in the line in the UK is Samsung’s Galaxy with just six per cent of the market according to WPP-owned researcher Kantar.
But the mighty Microsoft, still the biggest force by volume in the world software market despite its tendency to lumber, has announced some details of Windows 8, its rather belated fightback.
Windows 8 will attempt to combine all the properties of its computer software offer for tablets, which Apple’s iPad does not do, lacking a word processing system for example.
In effect Windows 8 is intended to power notebook computers in tablet form, something Apple has been careful not to do as this would risk cannibalising sales of its own premium-priced MacBook Air computers.
Kantar also finds that most UK iPad buyers use their devices to read books or newspapers or play games, making the iPad a luxury gadget. But an increasing number of commuters travelling to work now prefer their iPad to other options, indicating there is a gap in the market for Microsoft and Windows if the company get its software to work anywhere near as quickly as Apple’s and, crucially, persuade developers to produce the necessary goodies.