By Darrell Etherington
Microsoft's Surface is a bit slow out the starting gate according to tablet web traffic share numbers from mobile advertising network Chitika, which measures tens of millions of impressions coming from devices in North America. The MS tablet, which debuted on October 26, has just 0.13 percent of overall web traffic share according to a study conducted between November 12 and 18. Google's Nexus line of slates are easily outperforming it, but they've been on the market much longer, and it looks like Microsoft (MSFT) could overtake that subset of Android tablets, given time.(click to enlarge)
The Nexus line, including the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, is making up just around 0.91 percent of all Chitika's impressions. Judging by our own traffic figures to TechCrunch, the Nexus number matches up: Nexus tablets appear to make up only around 7 percent of the traffic of just the iPad alone, with other tablets helping to further dilute it overall share. Given that the Surface was only available to buyers for around a month at the time this study was taken, and that Microsoft is planning on debuting the Pro version of the tablet in January. Google (GOOG) is currently generating over seven times the traffic of its MS rival, but Chitika predicts they could one day be much closer in terms of overall web share.
Of course, Google's Nexus line hasn't been standing still, either. It recently debuted the Nexus 10 on November 13, at the initial outset of this reporting period. That means its impact has yet to be truly felt. Also new in mid-November was the 3G-capable Nexus 7, and increased storage options for Nexus 7 Wi-Fi tablets. All of those could have a positive impact on Nexus tablet sales and eventual use, meaning that we might actually see the gap remain or continue to widen depending on how the holiday season turns out for both.
Still, given that the figures here represent Google's progress after seven months on market, and Microsoft's after just one, it does seem likely we'll see the latter gain some additional traction. Analysts are predicting Surface sales ranging from 500K to 1 million devices for the fourth quarter of 2012, and recently reports have suggested that expanded retail availability in January could help sales in the new year. One thing's for sure: both Microsoft and Google need to see their user audience grow if they want to attract tablet-specific developers and apps away from market leaders like Apple.