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Samsung is catching up to Apple in the tablet arena

Apple's iPad is still leading the pack when it comes to tablet market share, but this is slowly changing as Samsung plays catch-up.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), a total of 52.5 million tablets were shipped in Q4 2012. Of this, 22.9 million were Apple's iPad, which represented a 48.1 percent growth from Q4 2011.

However, Apple's iPad market share has been slipping slightly on a quarterly basis. It went from 46.4 percent in Q3 2012 to 43.6 percent in Q4 2012.

Part of the reason for the slip is Samsung's ability to gain some ground with its Android and Windows 8-powered tablets. Samsung represented the No. 2 spot with a 263 percent year-on-year growth. For Q4 2012, it shipped 8 million tablets and snagged 15.1 percent of the market share.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the iPad's market share in Japan was bested by the Android-powered Nexus 7 tablet.

The top five tablet vendors (from No. 1 to No. 5) include Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and a collected group of "others."

Microsoft is now in on the tablet race too, with its first entry -- Microsoft Surface. In November 2012, it released Surface with Windows RT for ARM-based tablets. On February 9, it will release Surface with Windows 8 Pro.

While Microsoft's Surface with Windows RT was released in the fourth quarter, it was just shy of the top five list with IDC's calculated number of 900,000 shipments.

According to market research firm iSuppli, Microsoft Surface RT shipments into the channel for the fourth quarter were about 1.25 million, but sales out of the channel were only about 55-60 percent of that. This equals about 680,000-750,000 unit shipments, which is well below the 1 million mark.

The Surface with Windows RT has a lot stacked against it, such as a high return rate (iSuppli said that's mainly due to the steep learning curve of Windows 8), the fact that device makers aren't particularly interested in the OS and Microsoft failed to sell the device outside of its own kiosks (there are only a little over 60 of them in the U.S.) and online until mid-December.

Sources: IDC, CNET

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RE: Market Share is misleading
By Shadowself on 1/31/2013 2:09:47 PM , Rating: 3
Most of Apple's market share issues (and actually shipping quantities issues too) has been self inflicted by Apple.

The real bottom line is that Apple has not gotten its act together enough to ship products in the quantities that people were demanding. So either A. People waited (meaning sales slipped to the first calendar quarter of this year) or B. People bought something else (meaning a very large fraction of those lost sales went to Samsung).

Yes. Yes. Samsung is selling some very nice tablets. However, Apple has done as much damage to itself in the fourth calendar quarter of last year as Samsung ever did.

Can Apple recover and fix its supply chain issues? I'm not at all confident they can -- just look at the top of the line, build-to-order iMac. More than three months after it was announced it still has up to four week waiting time before it even ships, according to Apple's web site. A month wait time on a three month old product? Apple needs to fix this fast or it will continue its downward spiral!

RE: Market Share is misleading
By KPOM1 on 1/31/2013 2:15:50 PM , Rating: 3
I think you are exaggerating a bit. Apple does need to sort out its supply chain issues (for instance, Tim Cook should hire a full-time COO so he can focus on being CEO). However, Apple wasn't going to keep 80% or even 50% market share forever. The supply chain maybe cost them 1-2 million iPad sales in Q4.

Apple won't produce a $99 tablet. They won't produce a $199 one, either. That's not their business model. Yes, they produced cheap iPods, but iPod was a flash-in-the-pan commodity product and Apple knew it. They see iPad as a long term product line, and don't want to get into a price war. They'll gladly cede significant market share at the low end to Samsung, Amazon, or anyone else.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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