research firm IDC and the predictions might be a bit of a surprise. Windows Phone adoption is expected to skyrocket between now and 2015 top the point that one out of every five smartphones shipped will come from Microsoft. The loser in the forecast? Apple.The last smartphone forecasts are out, this time courtesy of
That is right, IDC is making a bet on Redmond over Cupertino in the worldwide smartphone wars. Again. The rationale is Nokia and its penetration into emerging markets. Does this make sense though? Nokia is in turmoil, partly because of its partnership with Microsoft. Symbian was the back that Nokia rode to its former place as the top mobile vendor. Its market share is eroding and Nokia will stop development of the platform within the next few years. Can it really be that simple for Microsoft to unseat the iPhone?
Predictions are fickle things and start to lose value the more they are made. IDC has already gone down this road one this year, predicting in March that Windows Phone 7 would have 20.7% of the market in 2015. Now the prediction is at 20.3%. Android is still the clear leader with 43.8% in 2015 while Apple drops 16.9% (note, this is smartphone discussion, not an entire iOS suite of products discussion).
How IDC Could Be Full Of It
For starters, Android as it is now known might not exist in 2015. Oracle wants a big bite out of Android ad revenues in its Java-related patent suit against Google that stems from its purchase of Sun Microsystems in January. Microsoft also has a robust legal arm going after Android original equipment manufacturers and takes a slice from every HTC Android device sold. So, Google is getting squeezed on Android from two sides on Android. Could the cost of defending the platform become more burdensome than continuing to develop it?
As for Nokia and Microsoft. At this juncture, the market shows no signs whatsoever of a bump for either company. What makes the iPhone and Android so successful right now in market share is that they are the leaders in "mind share." See PCMag on what carrier vendors think of Windows Phone 7 to get an idea of the platforms current mindshare. Apple creates its "magical" buzz and consumers fawn over it. Android has been pushed into popular culture because very large companies have a significant stake in it doing well (Verizon foremost, but also Sprint, T-Mobile HTC, Motorola and Samsung as the primary Android pushers). Nokia has manufacturing might and reach, but is losing brand power by the day and there is no guarantee (or market signals) that Windows Phone can change that.
IDC is in a tough spot if it wants to keep making predictions. The smartphone market moves so fast that it is hard to keep make one prediction at the beginning of the year and stand by it. Yet, quarterly forecasts lose their meaning because it becomes an empty exercise in market trends. We will see in time how the smartphone market plays out. Who knows, perhaps there will be some unforeseen player like MeeGo or webOS (both listed in the "other" category by IDC) that comes in grows like crazy, pushing the existing actors to the side of the stage.