Microsoft may be coming to market with its upcoming "Surface" line of tablets after ignoring the hard lessons Google has learned about breaking Apple’s hold on the market. Although the low-end "Surface" running Windows RT and the higher-end Windows 8 model both should be available in the last quarter of this year, ABI Research is projecting the devices will account for only 1.3% of shipments this year.
"The company is introducing a fragmented OS strategy with Windows RT and Windows 8," the analysts said in a news brief. This is precisely the problem with Google’s languid tablet efforts. While Apple offers developers a more unified iOS base, Android tablets from many manufacturers like Asus and Samsung have worked on various versions of the OS. The moving target has made it difficult for developers to get behind any single platform with compelling designs. ABI suggests Microsoft had forked its own market by offering Surface tablets that may not accommodate all apps.
The enterprise is the most likely target of Microsoft marketing, since Windows 8 compatibility across devices should be an attraction to business IT. But ABI is doubtful. "Is Microsoft suggesting that organizations will make the 'post-PC era' move toward a mobile computing device and ditch traditional desktop and clamshell form-factors, or is the company hoping that employees will gain access to multiple devices?" the brief argues. "So far, businesses have been opposed to buying incremental computing assets for users due to the support costs."