Windows Phone 7 will surpass both Apple's iOS and RIM's BlackBerry franchise by 2015, according to an IDC report. However, it will still lag behind Google's Android.
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 will surpass Research In
Motion's BlackBerry and Apple's iOS to become the second-ranked smartphone
operating system in the world by 2015, according to a new report from research
Much of that gain will come courtesy of Microsoft's recent
partnership with Nokia, which will see Windows Phone 7 ported onto the latter's
devices. "Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has
steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new
and appealing experiences," Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC, wrote in the March 29 report. "The new alliance
brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's
By 2015, he continued, "IDC expects Windows Phone to be
number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android."
To wit, the IDC note then suggests that Android's share of
the worldwide smartphone operating-system market come 2015 will be 45.4
percent, followed by Windows Phone with 20.9 percent, Apple's iOS with 15.3
percent, RIM's BlackBerry with 13.7 percent, and Symbian with 0.2 percent. Undefined
"others"-which includes, presumably, Hewlett-Packard's webOS operating system - will take the last 4.6 percent.
Should that come to pass, it would represent a substantial
reversal from Microsoft's current fortunes in the mobile space. According to a recent
comScore report, Microsoft's share of the U.S. smartphone market dipped 1.7
percent between October 2010 and January 2011, from 9.7 percent to 8.0 percent.
That trailed Google, which ended January with 31.2 percent of the market,
Research In Motion with 30.4 percent and Apple with 24.7 percent.
Microsoft confirmed at the end of January that some 2
million Windows Phone 7 units had been sold by manufacturers to retailers, but
the exact number reaching consumers' hands remains unclear. "Our numbers are
similar to the performance of other first-generation mobile platforms," Achim
Berg, Microsoft's vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones,
mentioned in a
Q&A posted Dec. 21 on the company's corporate Website. "It takes time
to educate partners and consumers on what you're delivering, and drive
awareness and interest in your new offering. We're comfortable with where we
are, and we are here for the long run."
Microsoft also claims its Windows Phone 7 ecosystem has
grown to 9,000 applications, with a base of 32,000 developers. But the company
has encountered speed-bumps related to software
updates for the platform, which in turn has sparked anger among some early
Nokia's ownership of the U.S. smartphone market is
negligible, but IDC says its Symbian
operating system powers some 20.9 percent of
smartphones worldwide. If the switchover to Windows Phone 7 occurs with
relatively little attrition, then Microsoft has a substantial base from which
to move forward with its smartphone plans. However, given the aggressiveness in
the overall smartphone space, that remains a very big "if." And the industry can
trust that both Apple and RIM will do everything in their power to
ensure that IDC's prediction never comes to pass.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.