Microsoft’s Surface line out-shipped the iPad Pro into Western Europe in Q3 2018

Microsoft and Apple are going head to head in the professional tablet space, with Apple increasingly positioning the iPad as a productivity solution and Microsoft bringing their Surface line closer to traditional tablets with the release of the 10 inch Surface Go.

The IDC reports that last quarter, in Western Europe at least, Microsoft won the battle and out-shipped the iPad Pro in the detachables category.

They claim around 316,000 Surface devices were shipped to retailers in Q3, up 40% YoY due to demand for Surface Go. This included around 80,000 Surface Go tablets and 30,000 Surface Book PCs, with the rest (205,000) Surface Pro devices.

The Surface Go sells for around £380 and “the more attractive price point has generated traction amongst fans of the form factor that can’t afford or don’t need the Pro version,” IDC researcher Daniel Goncalves told The Register.

He said the specs provided a “better user experience than its 10-inch Windows-based counterparts from other brands” but that the device was still too expensive for the Educational market.

Apple’s detachables sales, on the other hand, were down 40% YoY, having shipped 308,000 iPad Pro units in Q3 2018, but Goncalves mainly attributed this to inventory management prior to the October launch of their new range of iPads. He expected their sales to rebound in Q4 due to these new devices, once again overtaking Microsoft.

“The Surface Go was positioned to offer a midrange alternative, aimed predominately at the consumer and education space, and its greater affordability triggered an uptake for Microsoft in the third quarter, after quarters of challenging performances,” said Dennis Pedersen, research analyst, IDC Western European Personal Computing Devices. “Microsoft reached number-one position in the detachable category this quarter, which was further aided by the inventory management by Apple, ahead of the iPad Pro refresh.

Overall the detachables market was down 14.5% YoY, which the IDC once again attributes to buyers waiting for the new iPads.

Do our readers sense a shift in the centre of gravity of the PC replacement tablet market, or is Apple still defining the market? Let us know below.

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