Windows 8 tablets will lag iOS and Android, lose with consumers, but succeed in enterprises says Gartner

Windows 8 tablets won't catch iOS and Android, staying entrenched at number 3 until at least 2016, says a new report from Gartner. Consumers will bypass it, the report says, while enterprises will increasingly favor it.

The report estimates that 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets will be bought in 2013, up from 821 million in 2012. The impact will be felt as much in corporations as by consumers. Gartner says, "The consumerization trend has hit IT as an unstoppable force."

The report concludes that Android will be the operating system of choice in the enterprise, estimating that by 2016, 56% of all smartphones bought by businesses will be Android-based, up from 34% in 2012.

Gartner sees Windows 8 tablets, but not smartphones, succeeding in the enterprise. The report also says that Windows 8 tablets won't be a hit with consumers. It expects Windows 8 tablets and ultramobiles to have a 39% share in the enterprise market by 2016: It concludes:

"In the business market, Windows 8 will take the No. 3 position in the tablet market behind Apple and Android by 2016, with interest coming more from businesses than consumers. Tablets and convertibles will be the way into businesses for Windows 8. Gartner estimates that the share of Windows 8 tablets and ultramobiles in businesses will reach 39 percent in 2016."

I think it's a fair assessment. Microsoft's decision to include a version of Office on Windows RT tablets is a clear statement that Microsoft is targeting its tablets at the enterprise. So is its pricing decisions. The Surface RT tablet, for example, costs a hefty $499. At that price it's not going to compete with the iPad or Android tablets with consumers. However, businesses would be willing to pay that price for a tablet that works well with their Microsoft-based computing infrastructures.

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