Could Google Inc (GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Dethrone The Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad?

The Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad has long been known as the king of the tablet market. It all started with the “full size iPad” and was followed up by the mini in late 2012.

As tempting as it may be to hand Cupertino the crown and look towards other markets, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and its Android operating system, along with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) (Windows) are beginning to turn up the heat.

A recent study by Strategy Analytics shows that things could be swinging away from Apple, with Android dominating the tablet market in quarter two of 2013 with 67 percent of global tablet operating system market share.

It goes without saying that these numbers are a bit skewed, being that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS only powers the iPad with the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system being used by a variety of competitors.

Google Inc (GOOG), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

Nonetheless, global tablet shipments reached 51.7 million units in the second quarter of 2013 and it was Android at the top with 67 percent market share, with Apple’s iOS dropping back to 28 percent.

iOS and Android are the two top dogs, but the biggest surprise may be the 4.5 percent global share secured by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its Windows tablets.

A Huge Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Swing Over 12 Months

In case you have been living under a rock over the past 12 months, the Apple iPad is still considered by many to be the cream of the “tablet market crop.”

But like they say, the numbers don’t lie and the stats from Strategy Analytics paint a pretty clear picture of where Apple, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) stand at this time.

The best indicator of the current shift in power is the global total tablet OS market share percentage, comparing Q2 2012 to Q2 2013.

Apple iOS dropped from 47.2 percent market share to 28.3 percent while Android jumped from 51.4 percent to 67 percent. Now, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s declination may be due to customers’ anticipation of a next-gen iPad sometime this fall, but it remains to be seen if such a device will even exist.

If this is the reason for Apple’s market share loss, it indicates the faith that customer’s have in the tech company’s relatively consistent product release motions of years’ past.

Microsoft Surface sales may be underwhelming, but there is no denying the progress its Windows operating system made with a jump from 0.5 percent market share to 4.5 percent.

While the guys at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) look towards the future, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer are playing catch up.

In a market that was once thought to be owned by the iPad, things are changing rapidly. Now, it is time to keep an eye on what happens during the third and fourth quarter of 2013, especially with new devices set to hit the market.

Do you buy into the fact that Apple iOS is losing ground in the tablet market, and should big shareholders like David Einhorn or D. E. Shaw be worried?

Furthermore, it’s worth asking:what if the company uses its $140 billion-plus cash hoard to buy a peer, in order to become more competitive against the likes of Google Android? Jim Cramer seems to think so:

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Disclosure: none