Microsoft's push into the tablet industry will see only limited success, with the U.S. software maker remaining a distant No. 3 behind Apple and Google, research firm Gartner said on Tuesday.
"Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad," Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said in a statement.
Gartner said it saw Microsoft winning 4 percent of the market in 2012, with its upcoming Windows 8 platform, while market leader Apple would control 61 percent of the market and Google's Android platform 32 percent.
The research firm said it expected Microsoft's market share to rise gradually, helped by enterprise purchases, but to reach just 11.8 percent in 2016 as it lacks consumer appeal.
"Many vendors will wait for Windows 8 to be ready and will try to enter the market with a dual-platform approach, hoping that the Microsoft brand could help them in both the business and consumer markets," Milanesi said.
In addition to traditional PC makers, Nokia, the world's largest cellphone maker by volume, is set to unveil its first tablet using Windows 8 software later this year.
Gartner said it expected the market to roughly double this year, with all vendors in total selling 119 million tablets.
(Reporting By Tarmo Virki; Editing by Erica Billingham and Helen Massy-Beresford)