While I’m no fortune teller, one could say that as an individual who finds himself immersed daily in the tech and telecom worlds I’ve become a bit of a predictive prodigy, a telecom soothsayer of sorts. I have a knack for recognizing trends and extrapolating those trends into future predictions, and if I can say this without sounding to cocky, I’ve become quite good at it.
To that end I’ve also become quite interested in others’ market predictions, which is how I came across the report from global research and analysis firm IDC outlining the trends in the global mobile market over the next four years, and if IDC is to be believed, there is going to be a significant shakeup for the current incumbents.
Taking a page out of Ripley’s “Believe it or Not,” IDC has predicted that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system will experience an astronomical rise, jumping from a lowly 5.5 percent of the market share to a whopping 21 percent by 2015, leaving it second only to Android. So is this a case of savvy soothsaying or predictive prognostications gone wrong?
Okay, I may have oversold the predictive nature of WinPho7’s astronomical rise, because truth be told, almost anyone with any knowledge of mobile market trends could have predicted this. You see, this market speculation is based not on WinPho7’s ability to compete as a premiere mobile operating system, for that in my mind is still very much up in the air, but instead is based solely on the fact that Nokia–a globally dominant brand– has now adopted WinPho7 as its chosen mobile OS.
What I really found interesting, although certainly not surprising, about IDC’s four year market analysis is the fact that Symbian will plummet from its current 21 percent market share to a miniscule 0.2. Of course this doesn’t come as a surprise because Nokia has made it clear that while it refuses to scuttle its Symbian OS, it has clearly now become the forgotten and unloved child of the Finnish mobile company.
Going back to WinPho7, however, I tend to think that IDC has overstated the popularity of Microsoft’s mobile OS to a global audience. In fact, with several strong competitors to leap over and having yet to prove itself in any way, if WinPho7 did achieve IDC’s predicted market share it truly would be a Kreskin-like feet of prophetic wonderment.
In my mind things will be infinitely more complicated, as we need to factor in the fact that Apple is pursuing cheaper more globally available alternatives to its popular iPhone brand in addition to the fact that Android just keeps getting better and better.
So what will the mobile market look like in 2015? For starters, you better believe that both Apple and Google aren’t going to sit idly by and let Microsoft fill the Symbian void, and to that end I would wager that Apple will see a rise in its global market share as well, a point that has seemingly eluded the IDC analysts.
Further, I would predict a dramatic fall for RIM as its inability to innovate with its Blackberry product leads many to adopt the versatile Android platform, and while WinPho7 will see some entry into the market, I would be very surprised if it held such a dominant market position. Sure I could be wrong, but the good thing is, we’ll have to wait four years to find out.