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Thursday, December 15, 2011, 10:03 pm PT (01:03 am ET)

IDC: Kindle Fire to push iPad below 60% market share in Q4

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet will take share away from Apple this quarter, cutting the iPad's share of the market to 59 percent, a new analysis claims.

Though Apple has regained ground from Android-based tablets in recent quarters, market research firm IDC believes the iPad's share of the market will slide in the December quarter due to gains from low-end tablets from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The firm estimated that the iPad held on to a 61.5 percent worldwide market share in the third quarter, while expecting that number to dip below the 60 percent mark next quarter.

According to IDC, HP jumped up to second place in the tablet market in the third quarter, capturing a quick 5 percent share. Its presence was short-lived, though since the PC maker cleared out inventory after deciding to cancel the device just months after its release. Samsung came in third with a 5.6 percent share of the tablet market. Barnes & Noble's Nook Color took the fourth spot with 4.5 percent and Asus came in fifth with 4 percent share.

Google's Android OS saw a dip in total market share in the third quarter, down to 32.4 percent from 33.2 percent in the second quarter, but IDC sees Kindle Fire sales driving the platform past the 40 percent mark in the December quarter.

"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," said IDC's Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices.

A number of analysts have begun revising their iPad estimates on the assumption that Apple's tablet growth will be impacted by the Kindle Fire. Canaccord Genuity recently cut its iPad forecast by one million units in light of the Fire's strong launch. Amazon revealed on Thursday that it had sold millions of the device, which has been the online retailer's best-selling product for weeks now.

Mainelli does believe, however, that Apple is still set to have its best quarter ever during the period. According to him, Apple will also make gains with its iPad in the enterprise and education markets in 2012.

IDC analyst Jennifer Song viewed Apple's head start on tablet-specific apps, future iPad versions and expanding retail presence in Asia as helping the company to maintain its "global leadership," but she predicted Android will gain on its competitor in the near future.

"An improving Android OS experience and lower competitor pricing in an environment with worldwide economic concerns should help Android to increase its market share," she said.