Windows Phone Will Be More Popular Than iOS In Just Three Years… What? [Report]

Windows Phone Will Be More Popular Than iOS In Just Three Years… What? [Report]

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It sounds like a plot line straight out of Hollywood: washed-up cell maker teams with down-on-its-luck software giant to overtake a Silicon Valley tech behemoth. But researchers believe 2015 will be the comeback year for Nokia with Microsoft Windows Phone replacing Apple’s iOS as the No. 2 smartphone operating system.

According to IHS iSuppli, the hero of this story is the Lumia 900, a smartphone recently unveiled at CES that breaks all tradition for the Finnish-based Nokia — and the company’s best chance to reclaim its No. 1 spot from Google’s Android. As well, the Lumia could be the first non-Android handset to strike fear into Apple.

Although Apple’s iOS currently has 18 percent of the smartphone software market and Windows Phone has just under 2 percent, Microsoft’s OS could have 16.7 percent by 2015, just ahead of the 16.6 percent IHS expects the iPhone maker will control in three years.

The key to this transformation, the researchers say, is how Nokia plans to market the Lumia, cutting into Android, iOS and BlackBerry strongholds. One sign of this movement is the marketshare of smartphone operating systems other than Android and iOS drops from its current nearly 33 percent to 8.6 percent in 2015 – with Windows Phone being the major benefactor. Indeed, while iOS drops nearly 2 points and Android gains around 10 points, Windows Phone picks us more than 15 percent of the smartphone market over the next three years.

Apparently, Nokia’s switch from Symbian to Windows Phone not only helped the once cell phone titan, but also Microsoft. “The Lumina 900 and its successors will help Microsoft to reclaim its No. 2 ranking in smartphone operating system market share in 2015,” IHS announced.

Such a move starts in North America, instead of Europe, where Nokia traditionally launches its phones. The “device was developed with North American market dynamics and smartphone users in mind,” the firm announced. North America has been Nokia’s “Achilles’ heel,” a stronghold for Apple.

Along with a 4.3-inch organic LED screen and 12-megapixel camera, the Lumia 900 will also support LTE, something Apple is expected to introduce with its next iPhone. Verizon recently announced it won’t sell any handsets that do not support the faster 4G wireless technology.

As well as a flashy design and the latest technology, Nokia is adopting a carrier-based distribution method in North America. This can be seen from its agreements with AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S., along with Rogers and Telus elsewhere. In the past, Nokia has avoided this channel, limiting its reach, according to IHS.

Nokia is also targeting the already weakened Research In Motion. The BlackBerry maker, hobbled by the iPhone’s entry into the corporate suit, will now face Nokia powered by Microsoft’s well-established history selling to business customers.

All of which portends for an exciting year when the tables could be turned on a smartphone market once thought dominated by Apple and Android. Perhaps we need to add a third smartphone player — Windows Phone — to that list.

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  • zagatosz

    Some serious wishful thinking going on IHS. How much did they get from Microsoft and Nokia?

  • Al

    Predicting the future is a risky business!

    However, I hope it works out well for Microsoft and Nokia. A healthy market needs at least three good competitors. It’s a shame about HP/Palm and, perhaps soon, RiM too.

  • prof_peabody

    I agree that this makes no sense at all and that those pushing this idea are seriously dreaming, but … 

    This exact story (right down to the percentages), broke in November or October last year.  Either this is old news, or it’s someone repeating old news.  

  • Al

    “This exact story (right down to the percentages), broke in November or October last year.”

    Hi,

    1. The story is about how the Lumia 900 – which was only revealed at CES weeks ago  – is the poster child of this alleged Windows Mobile comeback. That is the news.

    2. The percentages you’re thinking of were from IDC and Gartner, which were released in September 2011. These new ones are confirmation from independent research by iSuppli. That is another new bit.

  • markrlangston

    The iPad was released in 2010 and in less than 2 years has revolutionized business, eduction, and healthcare. How in the world can ANY analyst suggest that MS will do better with Windows Phone 3 years from now when we don’t know what Apple has planned for 2014?

    I think it goes without saying that neither Apple nor Google will sit idly by as Microsoft climbs the charts.

    What’s worse, there are people getting paid good money to make boneheaded predictions like this.

  • Thomas sutton

    I would believe it if they said that windows phone could simple split androids market share and it’s a fight to the death between the three but this makes no sense at all… 

  • techgeek01

    It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN. Windows Phone WILL pass iOS. (well at least iPhone)  As long as Microsoft puts energy behind Windows Phone, It will pass the iPhone. 

  • Honey Badger

    I concur good sir. You are spot on in my opinion.

  • Steven Zahl

    The Market has Spoken.  People do not like Tiles.

  • techgeek01

    1) There wasn’t any tablet that was affordable before the iPad. You’re looking several hundreds more.

    2) Microsoft has a shitload of stuff that Apple cannot even come close to.
    ~Macs account for 5% of the worlds computers.  More than 90% are Windows powered machines
    ~Skype: 600+ million users(?) Skype will get (heavily) integrated into Microsoft devices (windows pc’s, windows tablets, windows phones, xbox, etc..) Meaning you have over 1 BILLION potential people this can reach to. And Skype is on ALL major OSes as well.
    ~xBox. Millions and Millions of xBoxes.  xBox is Microsoft’s Apple TV. xBox allows even further integration of windows to the home entertainment center.
    ~ Microsoft Office.
    ~Facebook integration (possibly a facebook buyout?) Facebook integration into BILLIONS of devices. Allows you to (easily) keep in touch with everybody you know.

    3) Microsoft is integrating their things even further.

    Skype, Office, Skydrive, facebook(ish), xBox, integration is more than enough for me to get Windows and windows devices.  And that is with a lot of other people I know. 

  • Jdsonice

    One cannot count MS out completely. They have more money than brains. But as long as they have their Steve iOS is safe. :-)

    I got to play with the new Nokia hardware and Windows Phone software. Besides being extremely sluggish and a battery hog the overall product is so so . Not bad but there is too much emphasis on social media.

    MS is great at “borrowing” features from Apple and incorporating them into their products so it would not surprise me to see the Windows phone OS tend towards iOS. 

    MS WILL subsidize the phone substantially to get market share (damn I own their stock) so they may become a dominant phone but it will still be shitty compared to iOS.

  • Curtis Something

    “This can be seen from its agreements with AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S., along with Rogers and Telus elsewhere.” Elsewhere? Surely, you meant to type ‘Canada’. Elsewhere is a pretty big place. 

    _______

    “The BlackBerry maker, already weakened by the iPhone’s entry into the corporate suit, will now face Nokia powered by Microsoft’s well-established history selling to business customers.” So how does Apple, or any other phone, getting into RIM’s corporate suit weaken RIM? Apple getting into the corporate suite would make a difference. Getting into their suit just fills up their pockets and destroys the well-tailored lines of a nice suit.

  • Spike Ennis

    Sorry, but this is wrong on so many levels… :-) 

    “1) There wasn’t any tablet that was affordable before the iPad. You’re looking several hundreds more.”

    So a company that could not sell a tablet for 10 YEARS can now copy the iPad and suddenly they will sell  100′s of millions??????

    “2) Microsoft has a shitload of stuff that Apple cannot even come close to.
    ~Macs account for 5% of the worlds computers.  More than 90% are Windows powered machines”
    Yep, like microsoft watches… Hey wait, the new iPod nano is a watch too, and it is selling way more than Microsoft ever did.   LOL 
    But seriously, if we take a real look at shipping computers and add in the iPad, we see that Apple is selling way more systems than HP (2+ times as many).  Plus, I understand that “windows powered machines” includes cash registers, gas pumps, etc….. 
    “~xBox. Millions and Millions of xBoxes.  xBox is Microsoft’s Apple TV. xBox allows even further integration of windows to the home entertainment center.”

    Yes and after 6 Billion dollars in losses, its finally making a small profit.  

    Microsoft’s plan… I like it a lot. LOL

  • jbelkin

    Not going to happen. The ms name is poisoned as an OS – ms has a shot to pick up some shares as a low end smartphone brand but ms won’t allow that thinking they are a premium brand. Ms will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on poor marketing also. They’ll be singing or dancing to imply that using an ms pones means you’ll have 983 supermodels fb friends …. By the tile function and feature won’t get them there.

  • Demonstr8r

    This is the most laughable thing I have heard all week. Even funnier then when a colleague informed me that he switched from the iPhone to Android because he expects Apple to tank.

  • Harvey Lubin

    Yes, Windows Phone 7 will be #1… once its market share reaches 0% (Windows mobile operating systems have been consistently losing marketshare each quarter for the past few years).

  • techgeek01

    Microsoft tablet is a tablet that runs a FULL OS that is fully touch optimized. That means EVERYTHING you can do on your laptop/desktop can be done on a tablet with touch. (or keyboard and mouse hookup if you want to)  The problem was, the hardware was NOT there to make this a reality until (literally) this year.

    What Apple did was took a MOBILE OS from the iPhone and slapped it onto a device that is about 10 inches and called it a tablet.  Truth is, a Mobile OS CANNOT do anything near the amount a full OS can do.

    Windows 8 is NOT taking any sacrifices to be put onto tablets.  It is the FULL BLOWN OS that is completely optimized for touch.  

    Windows 8 Tablet is NOT a copy of the iPad.  Well as much as a copy as the iPad is of (pre windows 8) tablets. 

    Plus windows 8 tablets allow for integration into current networks that cannot even be imagined on the iPad.

    iPad is a toy for the masses.  Windows 8 tablets will be the tablet for people who want to get work done. 

    90 plus percent of computers run Windows. Windows Phones/Tablets/xBox/etc..? Integration that you simply cannot have with an iPad or iPhone. Unless you have a mac, which is about 5% of the world’s computers. Simply put $1000 machine and a $650 phone is a (very, very) small percentage of the world’s population.  Microsoft will allow the same integration (if not better) for families who cannot AFFORD to take out a second mortgage to fill their house with flashy Apple products. So, a family who has a $500 PC and a $300 windows phone will be able to have that integration.  And a hell a lot more people can afford a $500 PC and a $300 phone than a $1000 mac and $650 iPhone.

    Well Yes.  But ONLY in America.  Not worldwide. Worldwide shipments (of anything) is FAR, FAR larger than America.

    Well, any game system makes a loss (at the beginning). It is made up by game sales. And I assume several years later (if not a year or two later) it’s far cheaper to make an xBox at the beginning. (well, let’s hope so).
    And the point being?

    Long Term. xBox may have not made (a lot) of money at the beginning, but in the long term it DID.  The same will exactly happen with windows phone.  Once Windows 8 comes out, there will be a HUGE emphasis on integration. xBox, Windows computer (desktop/laptop), windows tablet and windows Phone.

    Matter of fact, I see a LOT of people (around me) dropping their iPads and iPhones for Windows powered devices because of this. Several are already in the process. They have currently dropped their iPhones for windows powered phones and once windows 8 tablets come out, drop their iPad for a windows tablet.  And I know multiple offices that have iPads deployed WILL be dropping the iPads for Windows slates and matter of fact give each employee and windows powered phone.

    Laugh all you want, but you won’t be laughing for long. 

  • venasque

    Three years out is too hard to accurately predict in these times.  Tech advances so quickly and something unexpected and turn the entire industry on it’s head (like the iPad did).  Anyone trying to say what will happen in 3 years time may as well be writing a piece of fiction. 

  • techgeek01

    Actually, it INCREASED, but most people are more focused on how iOS/Android are doing. 

  • Peter

    Plus, I understand that “windows powered machines” includes cash registers, gas pumps, etc…..

    Plus, I understand that “iPads” includes airline cockpits, waitresses, and other data entry terminals.

    Nice try, kid.

  • Peter

    The Market has Spoken.  People do not like Macs.  The Market has Spoken.  McDonalds makes the best hamburgers.  

    “Roll-over” in cellphones can take some time.  I have an iPhone 4S.  I’m probably not even going to consider a new cellphone until late 2013-2014.  So Microsoft has a year or two to come up with something to impress me.

    Unfortunately, some of that means getting them out there so I can see what I’m missing.  That said, the strategy of getting them into the carrier stores is a good thing.

  • recyclops117

    Ok first of all all iPhones run IOS so if microsoft passes IOS it will pass iPhones. Which by the way will never happen. Most people dont want to get tangled up in microsoft because they dont trust them with so many OS and mobile OS problems. Its not happening sorry

  • Daibidh

    Having used a Mango powered phone for a day, I have to say I wouldn’t be too surprised if MS slipped into a comfortable number two or three spot.  It’s so unlike iOS and it’s cloney cousin Android.  Those two have some incestuous relationship going on.  And if RIM survives intact long enough to actually release BlackberryOS 10, it will only become a threesome!  It will be nice to have some strong variation in the Smartphone market again.  Everyone will benefit… including my preferred iOS. 

  • chipwinter

    It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN. Windows Zune WILL pass iOS (well at least iPod touch) As long as Microsoft put energy behind Windows Zune, it will pass the iPod.

  • techgeek01

    Matter of fact yes.  Since every Windows Phone comes with Zune. 

  • AppleKilledMobileFlash

    I also concur, good sir… That you have inhaled too much of Steve Ballmer’s BO and are clearly in a state of fantasy.  Consumers have always hated Windows tablets and they show no sign of being interested in the latest versions.  Windows 8 tablets will be overpriced due to the necessary hardware for running a desktop OS on a thin tablet.  No one that I know is waiting for Windows 8 tablets because most of the people I know don’t need the power of a desktop to do the simple things they need to do.  Only some blow-hard tech-head needs the full capabilities of a desktop Windows tablet that will probably get about six hours tops from the battery.

    Good luck with your fantasy of Windows 8 tablets taking over the tablet market, but in most cases a Windows tablet has never been any consumer’s fantasy.  Maybe more like a nightmare.  The XBox 360 is a fine gaming console and the Kinect is a fine and innovate accessory for the XBox.  Microsoft should continue to do well with these products.  I don’t dislike Microsoft and I’m only saying that it should stay away from tablets if it doesn’t want its ass kicked by Apple.  Sticking to their Windows desktops and servers would be the best for them.  Microsoft already blew their chances with mobile, otherwise, Windows Mobile 6 would have stayed on top for the transition to WP7.  Instead it fell like a rock to the bottom of the mobile dung heap where it holds court to this day.

  • veggiedude

    I’ve always maintained, that from day one, the iPhone could always add a java runtime engine and be able to run anything, iOS or Android apps. Now that they are talking of Quad Core processors in the device, I think that day is coming. But another thing has to happen: there has to be a real need to be able to do this. So far, there is no need – the same apps run on both platforms. Still, it is an Ace in Apple’s back pocket, and to be able to boast having the only dual platform phone in the world, could be a significant achievement if only for bragging rights. My best guess is 2014.

  • travisbrowny

    What the hell? Did you just say it was extremely sluggish and a battery hog? Every single review I’ve read, every single one, even on the T-Mobile customer reviews page, states that the Nokia is extremely fast without any lag and has great battery life. Also, what features is Microsoft borrowing from Apple?

  • travisbrowny

    Unfortunately, Microsoft did not put all its energy behind the Zune. The marketing, or lack thereof, was the major reason Zune devices failed to sell. That and launching with a brown turd of a device. 

  • Ramchi

    I have both Galaxy Note and iPhone 4S. I can say both are looking totally different not just look and fell but experience. It may be matter of choice one preferring the other. Though multiple players are welcome in the competitive market but at this point I see Google started losing its grip due to economic viability. While Apple and MS has huge cash pile Google cannot spending its effort on a freeware OS beyond a point.

  • Karolis Makrickas

    “Once Windows 8 comes out, there will be a HUGE emphasis on integration.” The same thing I heard like 6 times: “Once Windows 98 comes out…”; ”Once Windows Me comes out…”; ”Once Windows 2000 comes out…”; ”Once Windows XP comes out…”, ”Once Windows Vista comes out…”; ”Once Windows 7 comes out…”
    And from all this, only Windows 2000 was close to something good :) 

    P. S. Matter of fact, I see a LOT of people that don’t even know what Windows phone is.

  • davo johnston

    Windows phone definitely has the ability to catch up with Android and IOS. The metro UI that windows has is definitely going to be appealing and the windows app marketplace is rapidly growing! I am really wanting to switch from android to Windows!

  • davo johnston

    You are right! It does take time for people to realise. tiles will become more popular, apple’s mac os x will take many PC users and McDonalds will crash and burn when everyone decides to use healthier options!
    Go Windows Phone! I am looking forward to this so much!

  • Demonstr8r

    Windows is to mobile as Linux is to the desktop.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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