Apple’s tablet has been the number one seller by an overwhelming margin since its debut in 2010. The iPad owned 97 percent of the market share at the beginning of the year. While it’s share has slowly been decreasing throughout the year, the Kindle Fire managed to knock a big chunk out of that gap in just the fourth quarter of 2011.
Market research firm IDC believes it will push Apple below 60 percent by this year’s end.
The low-cost Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook tablet are being blamed for the predicted drop in future iPad sales as Apple’s tablet was clinging to an estimated 61.5 percent share at the end of the third quarter of 2011.
By IDC’s estimate, HP skyrocketed to second place in the tablet market in Q3, 2011 because of the overwhelming success of the fire sale of its now-defunct TouchPad. Samsung took second place and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color took third in the same quarter.
Google’s Android operating system dipped in total market share in the third quarter, down to 32.4 percent, but IDC believes the Kindle Fire will push Android-based tablet sales past the 40 percent mark through December.
Other market analysts have back-pedaled on their earlier predictions of iPad sales in light of the Kindle Fire’s popularity. According to AppleInsider, Canaccord Genuity cut its iPad forecast by one million units after seeing Amazon’s strong launch numbers.
“Amazon and Barnes & Noble are shaking up the media tablet market, and their success helps prove that there is an appetite for media tablets beyond Apple’s iPad,” said IDC’s Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices.
Apple is still predicted to have its best quarter ever. According to Mainelli, Apple will make gains with enterprise and education markets in 2012.