Windows 8 may be too late for tablets, Forrester says

The media had a positive response when Microsoft unveiled Windows 8 earlier this year, and consumers seemed to have a high level of interest in seeing Microsoft’s unique Metro UI on tablets. A preliminary study confirmed that the initial response to Windows 8 tablets on social networking sites was certainly positive; 63% of relevant Twitter posts analyzed after Microsoft’s announcement said that Windows 8 looked more compelling than Apple’s iOS platform. According to market research firm Forrester, however, Windows 8 might be too little, too late. Read on for more.

“On tablets, Windows 8 is going to be very late to the party,” Forrester analyst JP Gownder wrote on a company blog. The analyst continued, “[Windows 8 on tablets is] (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.”

Gownder adds that recent market entrants such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet further hurt Microsoft’s chances by altering consumer expectations and lowering price points.

“These market dynamics are rapidly altering consumers’ attitudes and needs. Most significantly, consumers’ interest in Windows tablets is plummeting,” the analyst wrote. “In Q1 2011, Windows was by far the top choice of consumers — while no touch-first Windows tablets existed, 46% of U.S. consumers yearned for one. By Q3 2011, that picture had changed dramatically: Windows was no longer No. 1 in choice preference, and interest among consumers dropped to 25%. Microsoft has missed the peak of consumer desire for a product they haven’t yet released.”

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