Windows Phone projected to claim more market share than iOS in 2016

Windows Phone projected to claim just as much market share as iOS in 2016

IDC announced the results of their quarterly smartphone research today, and found that worldwide, Android claimed 61% of the pie, followed by iOS with 20.5%, BlackBerry with 6.0%, and Windows Phone with 5.2%. The real shocker is that IDC projected a drop in iOS market share to 19% by 2016, and forecasted Windows Phone would claim just about as much as Apple with a 19.2% share. As if it wasn't already hard enough to take their projections seriously, they think BlackBerry is only going to dip 0.1% in the same timeframe.

The overall mobile market has slowed in growth due to prevailing economic conditions. Feature phones will still comprise 61% of the 2012 mobile market, by IDC's tally, which more or less lines up with comScore's numbers for the U.S. Of course, smartphone growth it still strong, and IDC expects 38.8% more shipments since last year - something in the neighborhood of 686 million units shipped. IDC's Kevin Restivo had some commentary on what we could expect for the rest of the year.

The smartphone parade won’t be as lively this year as it has been in past. The mobile phone user transition from feature phones to smartphones will continue in a gradual but unabated fashion. Smartphone growth, however, will increasingly be driven by a triumvirate of smartphone operating systems, namely Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.

Sure, Microsoft has certainly been taking the long view with their rebooted mobile platform, but IDC's predictions seem way too optimistic. Though they're going through all of the right motions with manufacturer, carrier, and developer partnerships, and have solid tie-ins with their PC and console businesses, it's still hard to imagine Windows Phone being as popular as iPhone in the foreseeable future. The iOS app ecosystem is way too strong at this point, and even if developers have the resources to split their efforts, why would they pick Windows Phone ahead of Android? Windows Phone is still really weak from a marketing standpoint, which in turn makes it unlikely that carriers will be pushing Windows Phone before Android any time soon. For hardware manufacturers, margins are still slim compared to iPhone, and having to pay for Windows licensing sure doesn't help.

What do you guys see happening in the next four years? Will BlackBerry still be a part of the picture? Will Android start losing its foothold? Can Windows Phone really claw itself into a position of prominence, and if so, what will iPhone need to do to stand its ground?

Chart: Worldwide Top 5 Smartphone OS Market Share Forecast, 1Q 2012Description: Tags: Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

Source: IDC

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

More Posts



← Previously

Apple updates Apple TV to iOS 5.1.1 (software 5.0.2)

Next up →

iPhone 4S faces off against Samsung Galaxy S3 in drop test

Reader comments

Windows Phone projected to claim more market share than iOS in 2016


This analyst seems to be assuming that Symbian fans == Nokia fans, and that virtually all of those Symbian users will migrate to Windows Phone. Presumably, the (s)he believes it will have enough momentum to carve out slices of iOS and Android share. A reasonable assumption, but by no means assured. After all:
In 2003, few predicted that RIM would fall off a cliff in 4 years.
In 2005, few predicted Apple would be a dominant player in 4 years.
In 2007, few predicted Android collectively would be a dominant platform in 4 years.
Few might actually == nobody, but I am hedging my bets :)
4 years is an eternity in this field, and predictions with that long a horizon are almost always disrupted by some novel factor. The incumbents will be lucky if there is only one such sea change during that time.

i dont belive anything analyst say.. they said when att lost the iphone they would bleed customers didnt happen.. they said Good ol sprint will go outta business didnt happen..

Windows Phone does show some promise. The Marketplace just reached over 100,000 apps after a couple years, a faster growth rate than Android. AT&T is getting behind the Nokia Lumia 900, spending more marketing dollars than any phone in its history (including iPhone). WP's OS is a joy to use. Their Xbox Live mobile is strong. There's more promise than ever with Windows Phone 8, including higher end hardware and integration with desktop, tablets, and Xbox.
What's working against Microsoft is they are too close with Nokia. It's alienating other hardware manufacturers. Despite 'Apollo' coming later this year, not one manufacturer has stepped up to the plate and said they will support it. The best thing Microsoft can do is purchase BlackBerry primarily to obtain their enterprise technology, and Nokia for hardware. Both companies can be purchased for cheap nowadays. And we all know that a tech company is more successful by manufacturing their own hardware ;)

how about: Windows Phone ONCE again projected to claim more market share than iPhone, this time by 2016

Y'know, I clicked on this post JUST to see who noticed that typo, like I did, and who gave the writer hell for it.

Actually Windows future is a lot more promising than Apple's. MicroSoft has already developed a complete EcoSystem of sorts. Apple will have to play catch up. All Apple really has is there phone & Pads. I see the future as MicroSoft being again the king of the hill, like it should be.

As if it wasn't already hard enough to take their projections seriously, they think BlackBerry is only going to dip 0.1% in the same timeframe"
Depending on how blackberry10 is...This could be wrong because Rim could possibly have the top spot by 2016.
No I am not Canadian, I just like what I see so far with blackberry10.

I think the drop in iOS is anti-Apple wishful thinking on someone's part, but if desktop Windows 8 is as strong as some reports claim, and if they properly market compatibility and similarities of the Windows desktop and Windows mobile, they could definitely take a chunk of Android's market share. No, I'm not an Android hater, but I know enough people who have not yet moved to a smart phone or got cheap/free Android phones (i.e., no real brand or OS loyalty) that I could see move to Windows phone eventually since they know "Windows" and have used it as long as they’ve used a computer. If iOS did not exist, I would probably be one of them. I really hope they do have success, as competition keeps everyone on their toes, and the consumer is ultimately the real winner.

Are they serious? Everyone claims competition is good and that's true. But to think that taking a huge share of the market will put Microsoft as the third OS of choice is ridiculous. That's simply not going to happen.
I'm assuming this nonsense is feedback from the show Microsoft just had.
Sure, a lot of great hardware was shown. Tablets, all in ones, laptops. Cool, but that doesn't translate to sales. And even if people buy these devices, that doesn't translate into people wanting a WP.
Not all people want to be locked into one system.

With windows 8 and the move to Metro, i see share increasing as well. But not so much at Apple's expense. I think iOS will be fine.

If Apple released the TV remote phone this Fall as well as a rehashed tired OS upgrade, WP7 will look more and more attractive. I had a WP for a few month. The OS is better, just needs more maturing and polish, but it's concept is better then what iOS is offering.

Simon watched the death of Blackberry on intomobile and now he wants to watch the death of Apple on imore, funny way of blogging...

Re: For whom exactly are these projections valuable...?
For institutional MSFT shareholders. Desperately hoping that Ballmer won't screw up Windows Phone as badly as he screwed up Danger and KIN and Zune and Bing and Vista and the list goes on.
Because if Windows Phone and Windows 8 fail (and there is a significant chance of both happening) then there just might be a massive MSFT selloff. The long-overdue correction. MSFT hasn't moved much at all for about 12 years, since Ballmer took over as CEO. It's like everyone is waiting for him to leave. One way or another.

Windows 8 can fail, even if the world still runs on Windows. Remember Vista? There are plenty of businesses still running XP and most users will probably stick with 7 because 8's interface sucks.....that's unless you're running it on a touchscreen device.

Does any of it even matter really? I only care about being able to buy the device I choose to buy, not how many others have that same device...

it matters because you need to have an adequate selection of reliable apps.
right now the only one I'd pick under that category is iOS. Android apps just aren't stable enough to satisfy me. I've got my eyes on WP if and when the time comes to switch tho.

WP7 has some growth to come, no doubt. Most of it will be at the expense of Android though. Apple users have a habit of being mighty loyal

remember this is worldwide. I bet in NA the ratio is skewed higher towards iOS and WP.
worldwide they buy low end Androids by the horde that shouldn't really be counted in the data.

Analyst reports like this can be very useful, or it can be an echo chamber that adds little value. It depends on how they compile it. If what they are doing is going and talking to the product managers at the various organisations, then this won't reflect a likely market outcome so much as a synthesis of the views of the industry insiders. Often the two are the same thing - hence it is useful - but sometimes it isn't. If nothing else, it is a way of each organisation finding out what the others think, which is one reason why they do it. Some, of course, are dumb enough to believe it without thinking critically :-)
If you take this as a view of what RIM and Microsoft think the market is going to do - and perhaps they are the ones with the most to gain from the report and so most likely to co-operate fully with IDC on this - then it makes sense. Both organisations are likely to be bullish about what they can do in the market, and how their upcoming plans are going to put them back on track. By contrast, how much information did Apple contribute? Is that the reason for this result?
This is all just conjecture, but it wouldn't be the first time I've seen a report from an analyst that just showed how deluded the industry insiders are. Maybe you'd like to ask them for a comment on why they are so down on iOS :-)