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IDC Cautions Microsoft on Windows 8 Tablet Pricing

IDC released its estimates for first-quarter media tablet shipments on Thursday. The numbers showed a slight miss against expectations, a huge drop in Android tablet shipments and reconsolidation by Apple of iPad's dominance.

What caught RCP's attention were IDC's extrapolation of what's happening in the Android market, and its cautionary words directed at Microsoft and its OEM partners for the upcoming Windows 8 launch.

"It seems some of the mainstream Android vendors are finally beginning to grasp a fact that Amazon, B&N, and Pandigital figured out early on: Namely, to compete in the media tablet market with Apple, they must offer their products at notably lower price points," IDC analyst Tom Mainelli said in a statement.

IDC goes on to extend that lesson to Windows 8, and especially Windows RT, in the text of its research news release (emphasis mine):

"The impact that Microsoft Windows 8- and Windows RT-based tablets, which are widely expected to ship into the market by the fourth quarter, will have on the overall tablet market is yet to be determined. Pricing on the new Windows tablets hasn't been announced, and that will be a critical factor when it comes to winning over consumers. Consumer reception to the new OS and the success of integration with traditional Windows systems will also be critical."

In the meantime, IDC acknowledges that for the second half of 2012, almost all bets are off.

Said IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell, "While Apple will continue to sit comfortably on the top for now, the battle for the next several positions is going to be fierce. Throw in Ultrabooks, the launch of Windows 8, and a few surprise product launches, and you have all the makings of an incredible 2012 holiday shopping season."

Looking forward to it.

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Posted by Scott Bekker on May 03, 2012