Last March, IDC made a bold prediction that by 2015, Windows Phone will be the number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android. As I mentioned back then – as much as I respect and admire IDC research, the assumption that both Android and WP7 will outpace iOS sounded overly optimistic, at least to me.
And it’s no surprise that a year later, IDC has acknowledged that “Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market”. However, the resarch giant gives the benefit of doubt to the OS stating that 2012 should be considered “a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes.”
For academic interest, IDC also mentioned that iOS and Android continue to dominate the smartphone industry, at least for now.
Earlier this month, my fellow blogger Jeff Wiener elaborated on why he believes Microsoft’s Windows Phone is a failure. On its part, IDC warns that there will likely be only “slow growth” for Windows Phone. To put things in perspective, even Bada – Samsung’s Linux rip-off is ahead of Windows Phone. The problem, as Jeff aptly mentioned, is that to date no Windows Phone has come anywhere close to seeing widespread popularity, and most carriers aren’t willing to take the chance that AT&T recently did in actively pushing the Windows Phone brand.
It’s hard to ignore that Nokia’s Lumia 900 is currently selling well in North America thanks to competitive pricing and a hard marketing push. Nokia’s earlier two Windows Phone offerings – the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 have seen decent sales across most markets in which they were available. In fact, a recent survey conducted WPCentral has found that the majority of Windows Phone converts are coming from the Big Two, clearly a sign that there are dissatisfied customers in both camps looking for a substantive change. However, those sales volumes aren’t enough to challenge either the iPhone or the army of Android smartphones.
IDC says Android and iOS are now well ahead of the pack and it will be a mountainous task for others to play catch up. Clearly, the situation is a stark contrast of the smartphone industry’s state till last year when four operating systems – Android, Symbian, iOS, and BlackBerry, bagged between 15 percent and 40 percent share. It’s no surprise that Android is the leader in the volume game and now accounts for more than half of all smartphone shipments.
Apple’s iOS has done well, thanks to strong year-over-year growth with sustained demand for the iPhone 4S following the holiday quarter and ever growing carrier alliances. Symbian, once Nokia’s favorite smartphone platform, continues to fade away as expected. RIM isn’t doing any better as the demand for older BlackBerry devices continues to dip and the delay in the official release of BB 10 smartphones continues to hurt the company’s fortunes.