Samsung was the number two seller with a 14.5 percent share, IDC said. The IDC report said China's Lenovo was third with a 4.8 percent share and Taiwan's Asus fourth with 4.0 percent.

According to IDC, Amazon — which does not release precise tablet sales figures — was in fifth place with a 2.3 percent share, but sales of its Kindle Fire tablets slid 70 percent from a year earlier in the past quarter to 1.7 million units.

IDC said global tablet sales for the full year rose just 4.4 percent for the year to 229.6 million units, after a jump of more than 50 percent in 2013.

Tablet sales cooled dramatically in 2014 from the red-hot growth pace a year earlier, surveys showed.

After the euphoria around tablets in 2013, the market has slowed because consumers are keeping their devices longer and turning in some cases to large "phablet" smartphones or new "ultramobile" PCs.

The fourth quarter saw the first year-over-year decline in sales since the first iPads were released in 2010, according to IDC. Overall sales dipped 3.2 percent in the key holiday quarter compared to a year earlier to 76.1 million units.