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(Pocket-lint) - Tablet sales for the fourth quarter of 2012, which included the Christmas shopping season, reached 52.5 million units worldwide, outpacing predictions, according to a new report published by analyst firm IDC.

The data shows leaders Apple, Samsung, and Amazon, with Microsoft and its Surface RT tablet falling outside of the top five. 

Apple lead with 43.6 per cent marketshare, Samsung with 15.1 per cent, Amazon with 11.5 per cent, and Barnes & Noble with 1.9 per cent, according to research from firm IDC. Overall tablet shipments were up 75 per cent over Q4 2011, where the iPad once solely dominated. 

It's worth noting that IDC is a third party that uses its own data to come up with estimates and therefore unlikely to have direct sales access to Microsoft, Apple, or even Amazon figures. That taints the picture even more when you consider that Microsoft mostly sold the Surface RT through its own stores and online, rather than through stores like Best Buy. 

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report microsoft surface rt shipments reached 900 000 in q4 image 2

Microsoft's Surface RT entered the tablet market during the fourth quarter and saw just shy of 900,000 units hitting channels, according to the report. 

"There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul, said Ryan Reith, program manager at IDC. "However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company's Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best." 

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Writing by Jake Smith.