Report: Windows 8 to Own 39 Percent of Business Tablet Market by 2016

Just days after their rivals at IDC published reports about smartphone and tablet market share, the analysts at Gartner weighed in on the future of these smart devices in business. And the firm says that with tablet shipments to businesses tripling by 2016, Microsoft is set to own 39 percent of the market.

(The Gartner report concerns business usage only. I previously covered IDC’s market share reports in "IDC: Android Tablets Surge, Take iPad Down a Notch" and "IDC: Android Utterly Dominates the Smartphone Market." Those reports encompassed the entire worldwide market—consumer and business—for those products.)

“For most businesses, smartphones and tablets will not entirely replace PCs, but the ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing popularity of tablets are changing the way businesses look at their device strategies and the way consumers embrace devices,” Gartner VP Carolina Milanesi said in a release regarding the rise of smart devices. “In 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile.”

The Gartner data is a bit hard to parse, because the release moves back and forth between discussions of smartphones and tablets. The firm claims that Google’s Android OS will control 56 percent of the business market for smartphones by 2016, up from 34 percent this year. And 53 million tablets will be sold to businesses in 2016, up from 13 million this year.

Windows 8 will take the number-three spot in the business tablet market by 2016, Gartner says, presumably behind Android and iOS (and presumably including Windows RT). But if you factor in other ultra-mobile devices—hybrid PCs, essentially—Windows’ share rises to 39 percent by 2016, Gartner claims (and, I assume, rises to at least second place). The firm doesn’t provide figures for Android or iOS, so it’s unclear how that compares with the competition.

It is perhaps instructive to compare what Gartner is saying with a recent Forrester report that concluded that Microsoft, Google, and Apple would essentially divvy up the market for so-called personal computing devices—smartphones, tablets, and PCs—by 2016, with Microsoft dominating in PCs, in a three-way tie for tablets, and well behind the others in smartphones. I wrote about this report in "Embracing a More Heterogeneous Future."

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