IDC Sees Apple’s Q4 Tablet Share to Dip Below 60%

Research firm IDC said on Thursday that it expects Apple’s tablet market share to dip below 60 percent during the December quarter, with Android’s share climbing just above 40 percent. Amazon’s Kindle Fire gets the lion’s share of the credit for these gains, with IDC saying Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet also getting a nod.

“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,” Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices, said in a statement.

Accordingly IDC believes “Android” will claim 40.3 percent of the tablet market this quarter, up from 32.4 percent in the September quarter. The report said that Apple’s share will slip from 61.5 percent in Q3 to 59 percent in Q4.

Q3 and Q4 2011 Tablet Share

Chart by The Mac Observer with IDC Data

We put Android in quotes because the Kindle Fire is a derivative of Android forked off from Google’s Android development tree. As such, we believe it becomes increasingly difficult to argue that Amazon’s success contributes to the overall success of the broader Android tablet market. We’ll have to see, however, how the broader market, analysts, pundits, and the industry itself views these issues.

As for Apple and the iPad, IDC said that the company will continue to see growth, and the report cited Apple’s growing retail presence outside the U.S. as contributing to sales. Apple has begun opening high profile retail stores in China, for instance, boosting the company’s presence in that country.

“I fully expect Apple to have its best-ever quarter in 4Q11, and in 2012 I think we’ll see Apple’s product begin to gain more traction outside of the consumer market, specifically with enterprise and education markets,” Mr. Mainelli said.

Jennifer Song, research analyst for IDC’s Worldwide Trackers, added, “Apple’s larger portfolio of tablet-specific apps, upcoming iPad versions, and growing physical store presence in key emerging markets like Asia/Pacific will help maintain its global leadership. However, an improving Android OS experience and lower competitor pricing in an environment with worldwide economic concerns should help Android to increase its market share.”

The firm is relegating WebOS to the dustbin of history, despite plans to make it an open source project. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook was similarly dismissed as a competitive threat this quarter.