Microsoft’s Windows-based mobile phone, or Windows Phone (WP), is making a slow but steady foray into the mobile operating systems market, making a quiet splash. WP is expanding its span of market share in mid-to-low end smartphones in developing countries.
According to international press and market research firms, WP outsold Apple’s iPhone in the Q4 of last year in twenty-four countries. The countries where it outsold the iPhone are Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UAE, and Vietnam. WP came in second place behind Android phones in market share in fourteen countries including Chile, the Czech Republic, India, and Italy.
In 3Q 2013, WP outsold the iPhone in only seven countries.
In 2013, WP also increased its market share of smartphones to 3.6 percent, a 0.9 percent jump from 2012, and inched up behind Android and iOS, which own 78.9 percent and 15.5 percent of the world market, respectively, according to Strategy Analytics. Also according to research by IDC, WP increased its sales by 156 percent over the course of the year.
But Forbes magazine points out that WP’s success, while visibly evident, has limits.
First, WP’s 156 percent increase must be taken with a grain of salt, since the overall sale volume is too small to begin with. In addition, aside from Italy and Finland, the countries in which WP outperformed Apple’s iOS are developing countries with relatively low incomes.
Moreover, 98 percent of WP’s overall sales came from Nokia. By product category, the two low-end Lumia phones made up 42.2 percent of sales, reflecting a disproportionate balance in overall sales.
Yet, Forbes concludes, “WP is struggling in the high-end market, but in the developing countries and in parts of Europe it is gaining strong momentum.” Then it points out, “With the exception of the US, WP is rapidly growing in many parts of the world.”