One of the biggest disadvantages Apple’s iPad has is its price. Weighing in at a whopping $499, the iPad is extremely popular but its hefty price tag does offer a strategic foothold for competitors looking to bite into its daunting 70% share of the world tablet market. Enter Intel and Microsoft. Both companies have been cooperating closely with top tier hardware vendors in producing differing series of tablets that run on the upcoming Windows 8 OS. The goal of this project is to cut down the iPad’s global market share to 50% by mid-2013. To achieve these goals, Microsoft will ship Windows 8 in September followed up by Windows RT for ARM architecture devices to be released later.
Microsoft looks like it is working its hardware alliances hard in order to ensure that Windows 8 tablets fare better than the company’s fortunes in the smart phone market. In the mobile phone arena, the giant from Redmond Washington is frankly getting beaten to a pulp. Don’t mistake its flat back against the canvas as a sign of defeat though. Just like the Terminator robot in Terminator 2 that refuses to die, Microsoft’s mobile phone strategy is not isolated from its grand strategy of a single platform controlled device agnostic world. If Windows 8 gets traction (and it looks like it may achieve that fairly quickly), its cross device connectivity can reach back into the mobile phone arena and reanimate its mobile offerings enough to deliver a knockout punch to Google and Android who are too busy doing victory laps around Microsoft’s currently crumpled comatose body.
All told, based on current development plans, there will be around 32 tablet PCs running Windows 8 launched at the end of 2012. What makes this development worth Apple’s attention is that two key partners, Acer and Lenovo, plan to release Windows 8 tablets that have entry models priced below $300 USD. These are aimed at knocking some wind out of the sales of Android tablets. Meanwhile, China-based vendors aim to supply some Acer and Lenovo models are just over $300 USD to eat into iPad market share. At this price range, the upcoming Windows-powered devices will be appealing to not just the current iPad market but also the new iPad and its successor model. So far, the following vendors have been cooperating with Microsoft for its Windows 8 launch: Toshiba, Asustek, Acer, Lenovo, Dell, and HP.
According to Intel, Lenovo’s commanding position in business use and educational tables in the mainland China market is a key factor in helping Microsoft gain worldwide market share against Apple.