The analyst firm IDC has released both their 4th Quarter 2014 and total for 2014 Smartphone OS sales figures and it is lethargic at best for Windows Phone. The “Little OS That Could” had a reasonable 4.2% market share gain over 2013. On the surface, that’s pretty good but you have to put it into perspective against the likes of Android and iOS. Android grew some 32% in sales while Apple’s iOS was up 25.6%. Let’s put it another way: Android and iOS combined accounted for 96.3% of the total market share while Windows Phone came in at 2.7%. So the good news is that Windows Phone is a solid 3rd over Blackberry and other mobile OS’.
But oh is there a long way to go to make a dent in the Android/iOS juggernaut.
The report, which you can find here, points out that Microsoft in 2014 completed the acquisition of Nokia and was buoyed by the release of multiple low end devices throughout the 2nd half of 2014. As I have lamented many times, there hasn’t been a flagship phone in 2014 (sorry Lumia 830 owners, it’s not flagship) and that hasn’t helped when the likes of Samsung releasing an updated Galaxy S and Apple’s dueling iPhone 6’s this year. If anything the huge number of low end devices may have actually skewed the numbers a bit – it could be worse that we realize.
Now I’m a the glass is half full kind of guy. Growth is growth no matter how you slice it and any increase in sales is a good thing to see no matter the product mix. Further, which is particularly important to Windows Phone, the name is getting out in the market more which again will help when that new flagship phone arrives in 2015. In all Windows Phone sold 10.7m units worldwide in the 4th quarter of 2014. That too is a distant third to Android (289.1m units) and iOS (74.5m) but it miles ahead of Blackberry which managed just 1.4m units. The 10.7m for Windows Phone also represents an increase from the 3rd Quarter of 2014 where only 8.8m were sold.
Microsoft has its work cut out for Windows Phone when it comes to gaining market share in 2015
The plight of Windows Phone will undoubtedly be helped by the release of Windows 10 where we will see universal apps across all device types, an improved API structure like the OneNote API and a host of other things that will make developers want to develop on the platform and for consumers to consider it. Microsoft certainly bares the brunt of this work however as they have got to get Windows Phone versions of their apps on par with those on other platforms. Just take a look at Outlook for iOS and then look at Mail for Windows Phone. Need I say more? If so, then go look at the Office apps and do a stare-and-compare.
I rest my case.
2015 should be, if all goes to plan, a much brighter picture for Windows Phone. Let’s meet up again this time next year to see how it went.