IDC: Windows Phones to Overtake iPhone iOS by 2015
By Keir Thomas
The Windows operating system for smartphones is expected to gain market share in the next few years thanks to Nokia, eventually leapfrogging the iOS system used on Apple’s iPhone. But Google Android will remain atop the field.
That’s according to International Data Corporation’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report.
IDC predicts Android will have 43.8 percent of the market in 2015, followed by Windows Phone at 20.3 percent. Apple’s iOS will trail at 16.9 percent. The future projections would be a significant improvement for Windows Phone, which will account for just 3.8 percent of the market by the end of this year, according to IDC’s figures.
IDC expects nearly 1 billion smartphones to ship in 2015, more than double the 472 million projected to ship this year. It says expanding markets as well as falling handset prices and cheaper data plans will fuel the growth. IDC also says feature phones, which dominate the handset market right now and are built around features such as music playback, will decline in number.
If true, IDC’s estimates for 2015 represent a mirror of the early personal computer market in the mid-1980s when Apple pioneered technological standards and gained significant market share but then lost ground to the clone market of PCs running the identical, easily-licensed operating system. The difference here is that Google Android takes the role of MS-DOS and in IDC’s projections Microsoft is largely relying on a single hardware vendor — Nokia — for an upward surge in its fortunes.
Success in the mobile arena would be new for Microsoft, which despite investing millions of dollars in mobile since the 1990s, has never seen the kind of return on its investment it’s found elsewhere. While the smartphone market has been growing, Microsoft’s market share has been plummeting.
Apple might also diversify its iPhone range, which could significantly increase the iOS market share. After launching the iPod, Apple split the product line into Touch, Shuffle and Nano models, and could easily do so with the iPhone. There have been many rumors suggesting Apple might launch an iPhone Nano, for example, which as well as being smaller than the iPhone, could also be targeted at a more budget conscious audience that simply can’t afford the premium-priced existing models.
Full Disclosure: IDC is a sibling company to PCWorld, both of which subsidiaries of International Data Group (IDG).