That’s Windows 8 on that there Dell Venue 11 Pro. (Credit: Sarah Tews/CNET) The tablet market is shifting into a more mature phase, and that figures to be a good thing for Microsoft. Market researcher IDC on Thursday forecast a dramatic slowdown in the expansion of the worldwide market for tablets , with the growth rate simmering at 19.4 percent in 2014, down from a sizzling growth rate of 51.6 percent last year. The firm defines that market as including both slate-style tablets and 2-in-1 devices . Related posts Facebook Messenger lands on Windows Phone As the tablet market cools down, IDC said, sales to businesses will help lift the profile of Microsoft’s Windows operating system, which has been in the shadow of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android — not that those two are in danger of losing their higher-ranking status. IDC predicts that tablets will continue to infiltrate small, medium, and large businesses around the world, helping commercial shipments of tablets grow as a percentage of the overall market, from 11 percent in 2013 to a projected 18 percent in 2018. That shift, IDC said, “is likely to benefit Microsoft’s Windows over time.” Microsoft has long had a home field advantage in the business sector. “The choice of operating system will be a key differentiating factor when it comes to success in the commercial segment,” said Jitesh Ubrani, a research analyst at IDC, in a statement.
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