IDC urges Microsoft to cut price of Windows 8 and Surface tablets

Microsoft Surface

Market watcher IDC has urged Microsoft to lower the price of its Surface RT device, if it is serious about taking the tablet market by storm.

The software giant introduced the Surface RT in October 2012, and IDC claims Microsoft has shipped 900,000 of the devices worldwide since then.

The Surface RT was initially sold through Microsoft retail stores and online outlets, which has previously been blamed by industry watchers for "modest sales" of the device.

To put those figures into context, Apple sold three million first generation iPads in the US during its first 80 days on sale in 2010.

Ryan Reith, programme manager of mobile device trackers at IDC, said Windows 8 and RT tablets failed to gain much ground during the fourth quarter of 2012.

"The reaction to the company's Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best...[and] we believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices," said Reith.

"In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs (average selling prices) on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes," he added.

Meanwhile, the analyst's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker revealed that while Microsoft may not be taking over the tablet market just yet - companies like Samsung and are doing some serious damage to Apple's market share.

The IDC figures showed that Apple's market shared dropped for the second quarter in a row during Q4, dropping to 43.6 per cent in 2012 from 46.4 per cent in Q4 2011.

Tom Mainelli, research director for Tablets at IDC, said the overall tablet market is growing as predicted.

"We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn't disappoint," Mainelli continued.

"New product launches from the category's top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season."