According to statistics compiled by market research firm IDC, Microsoft shipped 900,000 of its Surface Family of tablets.
The numbers, which were announced today, depict a Microsoft that is slowly beginning to gain market share in the tablet space after years of neglecting the form factor in favor of traditional laptops and desktops.
IDC’s report indicates that Surface RT and Surface Pro tablet sales reached a combined total of 900,000, enough to give Microsoft the number 5 spot in the firm’s list of top tablet vendors ranked by shipment for Quarter 1. In terms of actual market share, Microsoft’s tablets are also number five in the report at 1.8% of all tablets in the first quarter which runs from January to March.
The report isn’t all roses for all of Microsoft’s new consumer strategy. Tablets running Windows or Windows RT only accounted for a combined total of 1.8 million devices shipped. That could indicate that while Surface RT and Surface Pro device sales may be fairly high considering where the company started from just a year ago, hardware manufacturers like Dell, with its XPS 10 tablet, and HP with its Envy X2 are still struggling against Apple’s line of iPads, and tablets running Android.
Read: Microsoft Surface Review
According to IDC’s numbers iOS based tablets accounted for 19.5 million tablets shipped in Q1 up from 11.8 million tablets the previous year. Indicating a growth of 65.3%. Devices running Google’s Android operating system managed to surpass that, shipping 27.8 million tablets in the first quarter versus 8 million the previous year. Those numbers would indicate a growth of 257% from the previous year.
Figures reported by Digitimes, which admittedly has had a mixed track record of providing correct guidance on Apple sales note that while Apple may have shipped a total of 19 million tablets in the first quarter, 12.5 of them may have come from sales of the physically smaller and lower priced iPad mini. If that’s true that could also explain the explosive growth in Android tablet sales as well. New tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Nexus 7 are specifically meant to attract the same kind of buyers as the iPad mini. Apple’s iPad mini starts at $329 while the Nexus 7 starts at $250.
For its part Microsoft has not yet provided any tablets running Windows 8 or Windows RT at or near those price points. Its Surface family only includes the Surface RT and Surface Pro, which both have screens around 10 inches and start at $499. The Wall Street Journal believes that Microsoft is preparing to launch a 7 inch Surface that would run Windows 8 and launch sometime this year. The company also made changes to its Windows 8 licensing program to allow other hardware manufacturers to do the same.