Microsoft’s Surface Team will have been celebrating this weekend as the Surface brand reaches fifth place in the US sales charters for the last quarter. There’s a long way to overhaul Apple in fourth place, but the progress and the paths are clear.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles  (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

The details come from Gartner’s latest report into the PC market in the US. Top spot was earned by HP (4.5 million), followed by Dell (3.8 million), Lenovo (2.3 million) and Apple (2 million). Microsoft’s 0.6 million does give it fifth place although it’s clear that the Surface brand is winning ‘the best of the rest’ race while the Top Four streak ahead:

“The PC market continued to be driven by steady corporate PC demand, which was driven by Windows 10 PC hardware upgrades. We expect the Windows 10 upgrade cycle to continue through 2020 at which point the upgrade demand will diminish,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Despite the third quarter typically showing strong consumer PC sales due to the back-to-school season, weakness in consumer PC demand continued, offsetting the strong sales in the business market.”

US PC Market Share, Q3 2018 (Image/data Gartner)Gartner

But there are some comforts for the Surface team to take away. Gartner’s team is expecting growth to occur in the Enterprise sector of the market. Microsoft’s most recent product launch – the Surface Go – may hold up quite admirably as a consumer device, but the design, peripherals, and strategy all point towards it being an exceptional machine for enterprise use cases. That dual nature is something I noted in last week’s review:

Having spoken to Microsoft’s UK team, they believe that the Surface Go is perfect as the device used for workers who are the first point of contact with customers such as workers out in the field, for example doing sales in shopping centre booths; front of house operations at entertain and hostelries; and in educational markets as a one to one device.

That’s where features such as the increased levels of protection in the design against falls, the bonded screen, and the waterproofing, all come into play. Along with third-par peripherals that offer more protection, this Surface Go is ready for environments outside of a basic office setting.

While Chromebooks are flexible portable machines, the rise of the Chromebook as consumers head off to college is not the behemoth that many expected. In any case Microsoft’s marketing team can (for the moment) dodge that question as Gartner does not include them in PC market statistics.

Surface Go (image: Ewan Spence)Ewan Spence

The next goal is clearly to bridge the gap from the ‘others’ pile and into the multi-million sales per quarter market that the top four manufacturers represent. That Apple is next up in the Redmond sites is a delightful twist. Given the reliance on the Surface brand to market the machines and the lean in to quality and design that apes Apple’s return to form decades ago with the MacBook means that there are a lot of echoes to the fast as the Surface brand pushes forward.

Now read more about the enterprise focused Surface Go tablet…



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