The Macalope Daily: Predictimicating

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The Macalope always finds market-share predictions to be pretty hilarious. Has any analyst actually accurately predicted what each vendor’s share of a given market would be five, three, or even two years out? Ever? In the history of the world? Given their track record, the Macalope wonders if this exercise is really necessary.

The current contestant in this game of futile spreadsheeting is Nomura, which says that the iPad’s competitors won’t catch up to it until 2014. And apparently it’ll be Windows 8 that eventually puts them over the top.

Well, if you say so.

The balance might be tipped by Microsoft. Although it would still remain the smallest category, Windows 8 tablets using ARM processors would swell from five million a year in its inaugural 2012 year to 20 million by 2014.

Five million Windows 8 tablets next year? That would, the Macalope guesses, be assuming that Microsoft will actually ship Windows 8 in 2012. The “hinted” release date is “early autumn” while the super-cool “rumored” release date is “April 2012.”

That’s the date it would be released to manufacturers, according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. So the Macalope’s going to be slightly more conservative than Nomura and say that it’s probably better just to expect that decent hardware smoothly running Windows 8 in a manner that’s acceptable to five million consumers might show up, oh, sometime before intelligent chimps rule the Earth. He’s not willing to say anything more than that.

Multi-year projections often have at least some significant inaccuracy as they can be prone to wildcard factors.

Exactly. Like, say, alien invasion or robot apocalypse. Or all the other tablets sucking really badly. One of those is obviously more likely than the other two and, you know, supported by history.

Well, assuming you leave out Roswell. So, let’s say supported by recent history.

Analysts are at least now being a little more careful in their predictions of Android’s ascendancy in tablets, because they’re not completely blind. Previous predictions had the iPad only holding onto the market through the end of this year. But for the foreseeable future, Apple owns this market. Don’t think iPhone, think iPod.

Might Android and Windows 8 OEMs be able to compete on price? Maybe eventually. But to date, they’ve struggled to get the price of their “not an iPad” tablets low enough to make them attractive. We’ve got pretty good evidence now that the success of Android phones has less to do with “open” versus “walled gardens” than it does about price and carrier selection.

The Macalope’s not holding his breath for any mea culpas from the “It’s Windows versus the Mac all over again!” crowd, though.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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