Windows 8 and RT tablets are too pricey to gain maker share, warns IDC

There's bad news for Microsoft's attempt to gain market share in the intensely competitive tablet market: IDC warns that the $500 price tag for Windows 8 and RT tablets is too high for them to succeed.

The IDC warning comes from a report that shows Apple's share of tablets shipped in the third quarter of 2012 was down significantly from previous quarters, with barely a majority, at 50.4%. In the second quarter of 2012, Apple's market share had been 65.5%.

The big gainers in the third quarter were Android tablets, with Samsung, Amazon and Asus all significantly increasing sales.

IDC, though, expects that Apple will come roaring back in the fourth quarter, with sales of the iPad mini, and the four-generation iPad.

Where is Windows 8 and Windows RT in IDC's projections? Basically nowhere. Looking at Microsoft's attempt to eat into the tablet market, IDC warns that the $500 pricetag for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets may doom them:

"With the recent introduction of a number of Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, consumers now have a third viable tablet platform from which to choose. However, price points are critical in tablets, and Microsoft and its partners will have a tough time winning a share of consumer wallet with price points starting at $500."

Microsoft has launched a marketing blitz for Surface -- TV and magazine ads are everywhere. That marketing is sorely needed, because before the Windows 8 launch, consumers said they were not planning on buying a Surface tablet. An Associated Press poll found out that pre-launch, 69% of people surveyed said they had no interest in buying a Surface.

I'm a big fan of Windows 8 on tablets, and think that in some ways it's superior to the iPad. But the iPad is so well-entrenched that Microsoft needs something more than just quality. Price matters. And Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets simply are too expensive to gain much market share, especially given the flood of inexpensive Android tablets, and the iPad mini.

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