IDC Says Windows Phone 7 Will Beat the iPhone by 2015. Will Pigs Also Fly?

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Windows Phone 7 sales will surge, leaving the iPhone in the dust, and become the second most popular smartphone operating system in the world by 2015, says a just-released report from IDC. The report didn't speculate on whether Hades would freeze over and pigs fly by that date, however.

The report has Windows Phone 7 surging to a 20.9% market share, up from 5.5% in 2011. (The 2011 figure includes Windows Mobile market share as well.) iOS, meanwhile will decline slightly from 2011 to 2015, from 15.7% to 15.3%. And Android will continue its dominance, growing from 39.5% in 2011 to 44.5% in 2015.

You can see the full figures, taken from the IDC press release, below.

Windows Phone 7 sales will skyrocket because of Microsoft's deal with Nokia, says IDC. Here's what Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, says in the press release:

"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. The new alliance brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android."

I'm a big fan of the deal between Microsoft and Nokia, and have said before that the Nokia deal is a good one for Microsoft, and the only way that Windows Phone 7 has a chance to survive.

Despite that, though, I think that the IDC report is far off the mark. To begin with, it will take two years for the Nokia transition to Windows Phone 7 to become complete. Beyond that, a single hardware supplier can't possibly give Windows Phone 7 such a sizable market share. Other hardware makers have been lukewarm to Windows Phone 7. For example, Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services product management for Motorola had this to say about Windows Phone 7:

"There were a bunch of things that we believed about Microsoft that ended up not being true, mostly about what functionality it would have in what period of time."

In order for Windows Phone 7 to gain such a substantial market share, it will also have to get network providers behind it. So far, they haven't been fans. Verizon Communications Chief Technology Officer Tony Melone has said

"I don't think Verizon needs the Nokia and Microsoft relationship. Right now the three OS players we see for our network are Android, Apple, and RIM."

And beyond all that, Windows Phone 7 needs to be superior to the iPhone if it's to gain so much market share. I think Windows Phone 7 is a perfectly nice smartphone OS. But it's still not as good as iOS.

For all these reasons, I don't expect Windows Phone 7 to surge past the iOS by 2015, just as I don't expect there to be an ice rink in Hades by then, or to start feasting on pigs' wings.

This story, "IDC Says Windows Phone 7 Will Beat the iPhone by 2015. Will Pigs Also Fly?" was originally published by Computerworld.

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