Earlier this month, Gartner reported worldwide tablet sales for 2013 that depicted Apple’s iPad as slipping into obscurity with just 36 percent market share left. Why would Microsoft target Apple’s minority tablet platform with its new mobile Office apps over Google’s Android, which supposedly owns a 61.9 percent marketshare?
Gartner takes its data very seriously, describing its research as “the most comprehensive collection of analysis and advice for the users and vendors of technology.” While the firm also notes that “Gartner insights are drawn from a critical fact base not available anywhere else,” the conclusions it generates about the direction of the global tablet industry largely line up with the opinions of other market research firms including IDC and Strategy Analytics, even if the actual tablet market numbers presented by each company may differ by as much as 9.8 million units within a single quarter.
The only sales numbers that market research firms seem to consistently agree upon are iPad shipments, because Apple is the only company that reports how many tablets it actually sold. At the same time, all of the market research firms seem to be in agreement, at least in their publicly released reports, that Apple’s share of the market is rapidly dropping, a trend they began predicting would occur as soon as iPad competitors began to materialize. So how does it make any sense that Microsoft is focusing attention on an ostensibly withering platform, when there is the booming Android tablet business to profit from?
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