Microsoft (News - Alert) has been keeping a lid on how many Surface tablets it shipped since the release of the Surface RT back in October, which has led many to write off the company's foray into the tablet space as a failure. However, there are other manufacturers — Samsung (News - Alert), Asus, Dell and a number of other Microsoft partners — making Windows 8 and/or Windows RT tablets of their own, and it would seem that all of these devices together have managed to make a dent in the coveted tablet market.
According to a new report from market research firm Strategy Analytics, three million Windows-based tablets shipped in the first quarter of 2013, making up 7.5 percent of the market for that period. This may not seem significant, but it does mean that Windows tablets have gained a foothold in the market — especially considering only 400,000 Windows-based tablets were shipped globally prior to the launch of the Surface in Q3 of last year.
For those not keen to do the math, that means that Microsoft's share of the global tablet market quadrupled in only six months. Also, considering the fact that the overall tablet market grew in this same time period from 25 million to 41 million units, and that Windows tablets still haven't penetrated certain markets, this achievement is all the more noteworthy. That said, Microsoft still has a long way to go until it can beat Apple and Android.
Indeed, Apple pushed out 19.5 million iPads in Q1, up from 11.8 million in the same period last year, while Android (News - Alert) made massive gains, shipping 17.6 million compared to 6.4 million a year ago. This means that Google's Android OS has finally started to catch up to the iPad with 43.4 percent of the market, up from 34.2 percent in Q1 2012, while iOS tablets dropped from 63.1 to 48.2 percent. These numbers are sure to change even more over the coming months, now with Microsoft in the mix.