gartner

The last few months have been pretty good for the Windows Phone ecosystem. There have been some great devices announced by Nokia and other OEMs, more and more popular apps coming to the Windows Phone Store, and more than one research agency testifying the growth.

A couple of days back, we posted about the latest IDC report which pegged the year-over-year growth of Windows Phone for the third quarter of 2013 to 156%.

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Gartner has published an interesting report, which details numerous points. The first is Nokia falling to position 10 in the first quarter of 2013. This is out of all mobile phone manufacturers (Samsung remains first). While Windows Phone is increasing its share and sales, Nokia has still yet to experience a surge that will replace the sheer volume of units the company used to ship.

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Gartner has released their data for smartphone sales and market share for the fourth quarter in 2012 and while the data is not conclusive by itself, it does show general trends in where the market is heading.

For Microsoft and partners the picture is most certainly better than it was one year ago, which is the good news. The bad news is the hill to climb to global relevancy is still as massive as ever, mostly due to the continued growth of Android (specifically Samsung) and iOS. Meanwhile BlackBerry (formerly RIM), is still bleeding heavily prior to its transition to BB10, showing a massive decline in sales.

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Industry research firm Gartner just released its latest data on mobile phone sales for the first quarter of 2012. There are some interesting points to be pulled out of this report that I wanted to address.

Samsung dominates Android. Gartner’s data says that Korea-based Samsung shipped over 40% of all Android handsets last quarter. So that still leaves 60% of the market to other vendors, right? Yes, but according to Gartner none of these other vendors make up more than 10% of Android volume. None.

In terms of handset brands, Samsung is also now the #1 phone maker in the world, ahead of Nokia.

Nokia may have the #2 position in the market, but we need to remember that most of Nokia’s volume is based on the dying Symbian OS. Very little is based on its Windows-powered future at this point. So, considering that we’re looking at the death of the dumphone over the next few years, let’s look at smartphone vendors and volumes.

Samsung is the #1 player, having shipped 38 million smartphones. Most of these are Android powered, with a smaller number of Bada OS phones. Here’s how smartphone market share looks, by vendor, based on the Gartner data:

  1. Samsung with 26% market share
  2. Apple with 23%
  3. RIM with 7%

These are essentially the top 3 smartphone players right now. I realize that ZTE, LG and Huawei have a larger portion of the mobile market than RIM, but RIM is a pure play on smartphones whereas these three are not. Remember that other Android vendors have less than one quarter of Samsung’s volume.

 

What does this data mean to Windows Phone?

Back in late Feb, I wrote a post on Crackberry about how we’ll know if RIM is successful. In that article I suggested that, as the mobile phone market moves purely to smartphones, RIM could go from 3% market share to over 5%. I said they’ve got a shot at being the #4 player behind Samsung, Apple and Nokia (not necessarily in that order).

Although other vendors, such as HTC, have talked about building Windows Phone products, we all know that Nokia is the only true partner at this point. And it’s still early days in terms of understanding how this will all unfold.

Nokia’s big challenge is to migrate its customer base form a dying Symbian platform over to Windows Phone. That’s going to be a HUGE challenge in the developing markets, especially given the cost differential between cheap Symbian phones and expensive Windows powered phones. So it seems to me that Nokia could fall off the map here, ending up with much, much less market share than their current 19.8%.

Ideally, Microsoft would benefit form the support of more manufacturing partners. But if they can’t win more vendors over, they may as well buy Nokia and control their entire platform just as Apple and RIM do. For that matter, even Google is ready to fully control Android (via the Motorola acquisition) in the event that Samsung somehow moves to control its own platform.

I like Microsoft’s strategy of converging the user experience on mobile and desktop. It’s differentiated. Microsoft has always been a company who delivers great developer tools. Microsoft needs to win over developer momentum here, badly.

But, unfortunately, if either Microsoft of Nokia stumble here, the chances of Windows Phone becoming a dominant platform shrink significantly.

Nokia is still the # 2 global player in the mobile phone market. This is a good base on which to convert customers over to Windows Phones. But every quarter that Nokia bleeds share to the competition (mainly Android), the race gets much harder.

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Gartner has released Q4 2011 data for worldwide smartphone sales to consumers, which shows some interesting signs for the Windows Phone platform. The dip in both number of units sold and marketshare is more-than-likely due to the drop of Windows Mobile. The push by Nokia has had some positive effect regarding the brand of both the manufacturer and the mobile platform, but numbers are still yet to reflect any solid progress.

As of Q4 2011 Microsoft was sat behind Samsung's Bada and the pesky 2%. With Nokia and Windows Phone "Tango" to target the emerging markets as a Symbian replacement, and upcoming "Apollo" to introduce a massive OS overhaul, by the end of 2012 Gartner predicts the platform to hit 8.6% marketshare. The analyst firm also believes these numbers to reflect Windows Phone sales only.

We may be in the second year of its life, but Microsoft's platform is still relatively young. The promotion and brand awareness campaigns that Nokia are running may require more time to take affect. The good news is the outlook for 2012 with the two OS updates (as well as new handsets). Bring on MWC.

Source: Gartner, Economic Times, via: WMPUthanks, Steve, for the tip!

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Here we go again folks, more analyst news! This time it's Gartner's turn with an interesting (and exciting) number of reported sales for WP7 in the first quarter of this year. If this number is true (or somewhat accurate) then this will turn skeptics into believers.

Note that this number doesn't reflect handsets sold to carriers, it shows devices sold to end-users. Interesting to note is that Nokia still head the game with the most market share, but dropping still. A lot is riding on the Nokia + Microsoft partnership, from both parties and these tables display that level of requirement.

Gartner has previously posted predictions of the platform becoming prosperous by 2015. What do you make of these findings?

Source: Gartner

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