Analyst Canalys has labelled Microsoft's move into the hardware space "a non-event", as Q4 figures reveal Apple strengthened its position as the world's leading client vendor.
The market watcher reports that just three per cent of tablets shipped globally during the quarter ran on a Microsoft operating system. The much-vaunted launch of the Surface was characterised by Canalys as a damp squib, with just 720,000 units sold out during Q4.
A research note published yesterday points to "high pricing, poor channel strategy and a lack of clarity regarding its RT operating system" as reasons for Microsoft's underwhelming performance so far.
"The outlook for Windows RT appears bleak," added Canalys senior analyst Tim Coulling. "Hardware OEMs are ignoring it due, in part, to a pricing strategy that does not align with the economics of the [tablet] market. We expect Microsoft to rethink its pricing strategy for RT in the coming weeks. Dropping the price by 60 per cent should get OEMs back on side."
The analyst, which includes tablets in its PC market figures, reports that worldwide PC shipments in Q4 grew 12 per cent annually to 134 million. Apple accounted for 27 million of these, taking its share past the 20 per cent mark for the first time. One in six client devices shipped during the quarter was an iPad.
HP retook second place in Q4 after shipping 15 million units to beat rival Lenovo by about 200,000. Both firms have a market share of 11 per cent. After posting strong sales of its Galaxy tablet, Samsung finds itself in the top five for the first time. The 11.7 million units the vendor shipped during the quarter put it in fourth place in the vendor rankings, with a nine per cent market share.
Dell, in fifth, saw its quarterly shipment volumes fall 29 per cent year on year to 9.7 million. Canalys labels the vendor's "direct business model...expensive and unsuitable for driving growth in new markets". The research house predicts that "a turnaround in fortunes is likely to take years", even if the vendor's management buyout is rubber-stamped.
Dell EMC partner 'very keen' to make acquisition
Robotics company UiPath claims to now be valued at $3bn after $225m funding round
Struggling security titan makes three board appointments after investor took 5.8 per cent stake last month
Commvault ousted its CEO in May and has since undergone a radical refocus