Shipments of tablets are set to outstrip all other PC form factors by next year, according to analyst Canalys, which added that if Microsoft wants to up its game in the tablet market, it must prove its channel commitment.
This year tablets accounted for 40 per cent of all shipments of PC form factors – notebooks, desktops and tablets – but by 2014, Canalys thinks tablet shipments will represent half of the market.
Apple and Samsung are set to lead the charge for tablet shipments, which the analyst predicted will surpass 285 million next year and reach 396 million by 2017.
Microsoft – which launched its own Surface tablet last autumn – will manage to muscle in on the tablet market too, upping its share from two per cent last year to what Canalys expects will be five per cent next year.
But if it wants to make serious waves in the tablet space, it will have to prove itself to the channel.
"2014 will see another major shift for [Microsoft] as the Nokia acquisition brings it a step closer to being a fully fledged smart mobile device vendor," said Canalys.
"As a vendor, Microsoft needs to prove to channel partners and consumers that it is in this market for the long haul. Balancing the competition with its vendor partners and embracing a ‘challenger' rather than an ‘incumbent' mentality is essential."
The researcher added that to improve its position, addressing its complicated trio of operating systems would be a good start.
"To improve its position... a critical first step is to address the coexistence of Windows Phone and Windows RT," it said. "Having three different operating systems to address the smart device landscape is confusing to both developers and consumers alike."
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