Now we know why Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) was so eager to kick start its tablet announcement last week unveiling the Surface, its first reach into the tablet market and a potential competitor to Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPad.
Just a week after the Surface announcement, fellow tech giant Google Inc. (GOOG) unveiled its own tablet—the Nexus 7. Complete with a 7-inch screen and a $199 price tag, the Nexus is expected to compete with the similarly-sized and -priced Kindle Fire rather than the iPad. And the way things are shaping up, this is bad news for Kindle creator Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). Unlike the Kindle Fire, the Nexus includes a front-facing camera and it runs off an unrestricted version of the Android operating system. The screen resolution and battery life will reportedly be better.
Customers looking to pick up the Nexus 7 can place their orders now and shipments will start in July. While Google does not expect to eat into Apple’s market share, it estimates that it will ship three million units by the end of 2012. By comparison, Apple sold nearly 12 million iPads in the second quarter alone!
So if you’re an Apple shareholder, the Google tablet shouldn’t concern you too much. Especially since today also brought a development from another major tablet maker—Samsung—that should catch your eye: A U.S. judge has halted sales of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet while the court deliberates on Apple’s claim that Samsung illegally copied its iPad design.
This is big news because the South Korean company is one of Apple’s biggest rivals. Apple and Samsung have been engaged in patent wars for years; there are currently 20 legal disputes across nine countries, including Japan and the United Kingdom. And it looks like Apple’s aggressive strategy to protect its intellectual property is working—Apple currently enjoys 63% market share of the tablet market.
So despite the best efforts of its competitors, Apple Inc. is still the top tablet maker. And with analysts expecting the tablet market to double this year, this spells out big profits for the tech giant.