Despite what the rest of the industry considers Microsoft's status as an early loser in the tablet market, Citigroup analysts are projecting that Windows could fight its way back to be a respectable part of the tablet market.
They believe this despite a ship time for a tablet-optimized version of Windows they expect will come sometime between January 2012 and March 2013, though the beta is due this September.
Microsoft's huge base of Windows users in big companies is still enough of a strength that it could build itself up to a "meaningful" share of the tablet market during 2013, if the user interface is attractive enough to end users to cause them to not complain too much at using Windows rather than iOS or Android on their tablets, Citigroup's analysis said, though in far more stilted language.
Gartner's April report on the tablet market predicted iOS would hold 69 percent market share through this year, dropping to only 47 percent by 2015.
Google's Android will make up 39 percent by 2015, which would leave only 14 percent for everyone else – everyone else being MeeGo, WebOS, QNX and "Other Operating Systems."
Microsoft is not mentioned by name, so the "meaningful" market share Citigroup predicts is buried somewhere in the 0.2 percent of "Other."
Serious dis for Microsoft, but exactly in line with the actual progress toward a competitive, attractive tablet OS that could ship commercially in time to do Microsoft any good.
From end users' point of view, there's not much reason to wait around for Microsoft, or hope it will fill some glaring gap in the market, so even if Microsoft fixes the Supply side of that equation, the Demand part isn't likely to help it much.