Surprise: Windows tablets top the wish list for info workers

Credit: Creatas

Windows topped the wish list among information workers who want tablets, showing that Apple's grip on the market might not last forever.

Forrester asked nearly 10,000 information workers around the world what smartphone and tablet they'd want if they could choose any.

Surprisingly, more people wanted a Windows tablet than an Apple tablet. Twenty percent said they want a Windows 8 tablet and 12 percent said they want Windows 7 or other Windows. That's 32 percent who said they want a Windows tablet, compared to 26 percent who want an Apple tablet.

However, what surprised Frank Gillett, the Forrester analyst behind the survey, was not how big the desire for Windows was but how small. "Fundamentally I would argue that it's surprising it's not higher. People have been using Windows PCs for years, why wouldn't they make that preference?" he said.

The fact that the number of people who want Windows tablets isn't higher reflects how late Microsoft is getting to market, he said. "If they had just gotten off faster they would have had a lot more goodwill. So you see them eroded down to the number you see," he said.

Also surprising is the tiny number of people in the survey who wanted Android tablets – just 11 percent, with an additional 1 percent saying they would choose an Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook. The BlackBerry Playbook got a paltry 1 percent interest.

Interest was a bit different for smartphones. Among the people surveyed, 33 percent wanted iPhones, 22 percent wanted Android phones, and 10 percent wanted Windows phones. Sixteen percent said they didn't plan to use a smartphone on a corporate network and 11 percent had no preference or didn't know what they wanted. Just 7 percent wanted BlackBerry phones.

In this study, interest does not map to actual market share, which could mean a few things. Android had 75 percent market share in the third quarter this year, according to IDC. Researchers there expect Windows Phone to end the year with 2.6 percent market share. It could be that people who intend to use their phones at work prefer iPhones or even Windows Phones, potentially because they know their IT departments prefer them.

Another possibility is that in-store marketing tactics and low price convince people to buy Android phones, even if they intended to buy an iPhone, Gillett said. Just because people say they want a device in a survey doesn't mean that's what they'll end up getting.

"Apple has a strong brand halo. The question is, will that carry through to determination at the point of purchase," he said.

The data came from Forrester's Q4 2012 Forrsights Workforce Employee Survey.

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