Computerworld - Gartner this week downgraded its Windows device shipment forecast for the second time this year, saying that while Microsoft's platform is still expected to rebound in 2014, its climb out of an historic PC slump will happen at a slower pace.
For 2013, Windows' share of the operating systems on all "smart devices" -- smartphones, tablets, PCs and PC-tablet hybrids -- will drop 4.3% compared to the year before, double the 2% decline predicted four months ago by the research company.
The culprits: Smaller tablets and a longer- and larger-than-expected slump in traditional PCs.
"The decline [in the revised forecast] is from the pure-tablet side of things," Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Gartner, said in an interview. "The lower end of the tablet [market] is driving that market, and Microsoft is really not playing there."
By "lower-end," Milanesi means lower-priced tablets, which are almost exclusively the smaller-sized devices with screens of 7 inches or 8 inches. Microsoft, which is in the tablet space with its own Surface line, has declined to compete in the petite form factor; for the most part, so have its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners. Dell, for example, only just announced the Venue 8 Pro, an 8-in. tablet powered by Windows 8.1 and an Intel Atom processor, part of the family code-named "Bay Trail." The Venue 8 Pro won't start selling until next month.