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Microsoft Surface Tops Apple iPad in Tablet Satisfaction

Microsoft Corp. Launches Windows 10 In JapanMicrosoft Corp. Launches Windows 10 In Japan
Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 10 operating system on the Surface 3 tablet deviceKiyoshi Ota—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Apple’s iPad division has suffered yet another blow.

Microsoft’s Surface tablet scored 855 out of a possible 1,000 in J.D. Power’s recent study on tablet customer satisfaction, landing it ahead of Apple’s iPad, which scored an 849 in the study. Samsung’s (SSNLF) Galaxy tablets were just behind Apple’s iPads with a score or 847.

According to J.D. Power, consumers said that Microsoft’s Surface tablets were tops in the “variety of pre-loaded applications” they offer. The Surface also performed well in Internet connectivity and in the number of accessories it supports. Study respondents also said that Microsoft’s tablets had the best quality of materials and deliver the best design on the market.

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Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) are longtime competitors in the software market. But in recent years, their hardware battles have intensified as Microsoft has continued to invest heavily in computers and tablets. Microsoft sells the Surface Pro tablet, an alternative to Apple’s iPad. The company also offers a Surface Book among other computers that compete with Apple’s Mac line.

While Apple still generates far more revenue on hardware sales than Microsoft, the company’s ailing tablet division has been a subject of investor concern of late.

Apple’s iPad sales have been in steady decline over the last few years, and over a three-year period, Apple’s iPad revenue has been cut in half. While Apple has said that its iPad still has a bright future, the unit’s sales troubles, coupled with a declining tablet market, have been cause for concern.

The J.D. Power study could be yet another area of concern for Apple. In addition to Surface tablets topping the iPad on design and features, J.D. Power’s survey, which was conducted between October and December 2016 with answers from more than 2,200 tablet owners, found that Microsoft has more young customers and early adopters than any other tablet maker. Early adopters are generally more satisfied, according to J.D. Power, and in some cases, influence buying decisions for friends and family.

Although Apple trailed Microsoft in the study, its score still topped the industry average of 841. It’s also worth noting that 22% of customers say that they choose tablets based on a company’s “past experience”—something Apple has on its side. Another 22% of customers are choosing lower-priced tablets, which could be why Apple announced last month a new iPad for $329. It’s the cheapest price Apple has ever offered on an iPad with a 9.7-inch Retina display.

The J.D. Power study asks consumers about a tablet’s performance, ease of operation, features, design, and cost. Performance and ease of operation are given the most weight in the study, and cost is given the least.