Microsoft Corp. ( MSFT ) will launch the
latest version of its tablet Surface, Surface RT with Windows RT in
Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan. Further,
it will launch its Surface Pro with Windows 8 Pro in Australia,
China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United
Kingdom in March.
Microsoft Surface was launched worldwide on Oct 26, 2012, with a
price tag of $499.0, which makes it comparatively expensive.
However, it combines the functionalities of a tablet and a
Microsoft is offering two versions of its Surface tablets to the
consumer, one with Windows RT and another with Windows 8 Pro. The
Surface RT is more of a tablet, which has some features of a
laptop. On the other hand, Surface Pro is a laptop, which comes
with some features of a tablet. Thus, Microsoft wants to plug the
gap for those consumers who want both in a single device.
Microsoft is very bullish about its tablet and is rapidly
strengthening its global retail presence. Microsoft is a late
entrant into the tablet market and beating the competition at this
point will be an uphill task. Other successful tablets such as
Apple's ( AAPL ) iPads,
Google's ( GOOG ) Nexus 7,
Samsung's Galaxy tablets and Amazon's ( AMZN ) Kindle Fire
already have a strong presence in the market.
According to a report from IDC, 52.5 million tablets were
shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012. Apple shipped 22.9 million
units, retained the top position, and gained 43.6% of market share.
Samsung, Amazon and others are lagging behind. However, Samsung
witnessed a 263.0% jump in its market share from the year-ago
As per IDC's forecast, tablets may see an uptrend and sales may
touch 282.7 million units by 2016. Windows-based tablets may
capture 10.0% of the market in the same time period.
Microsoft is still battling the slump in the PC market, which is
showing no signs of recovery. Despite Microsoft's late entry, there
is still time to create its own niche. Combining the
functionalities of a tablet and a laptop, Surface can create
interest and attract new tablet users. Hence, expansion of its
retail base makes sense. Microsoft badly needs success in the
tablet segment as this is the only way to counter the secular
decline of in its core PC business.
Microsoft reported revenues, excluding deferrals, of $21.46
billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, which was up 34.0%
sequentially and 2.7% from last year, in line with our estimates.
All except the Entertainment & Devices segment grew both
sequentially and from the year-ago quarter. Entertainment &
Devices were down year over year.
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