Category Archives: Market

Waning iPhone Market Share Could Provide Opportunities for a Windows Phone Surge

When you’re contemplating buying a new smartphone, Windows Phone is not an option that immediately springs to mind. However, going by a statement from Microsoft as early as this Jan, it seems the device has been steadily making its way into more and more hands in as many as 24 different markets worldwide with over 14 markets claiming it to be the #2 smartphone operating system used. With flagship devices like the Nokia Lumia 928, 1020, and 1520, as well as affordable ones such as the Lumia 520, 625, and 1320, the prospects for Windows Phone to provide a stiff challenge to the superior iPhone certainly seems brighter.

A recent report from Statista, The Statistical Portal indicates that nearly 70% of iPhone sales this fiscal are replacement buys. In fact, Apple saw its own market share in smartphones fall 3.5 percent to 15.2 percent. Statistica reports that the newer iPhone models of late only come with incremental feature updates rather than fundamental ones and Apple is struggling to convince iPhone users the need for updating their phones at least once a year.

In its latest forecast, market research firm IDC opines that phones shipped with Microsoft’s software will comprise 7 percent of the total market in 2018, which is 3.3 percent more from last year’s figures. The firm also expects total shipments of Windows Phone devices to increase from 33.4 million in 2013 to 121.1 million in 2018. According to IDC, Windows positive growth has been fueled by two significant factors; leading vendor Nokia’s offering of a diverse portfolio of Windows devices with a focus on the cheaper end of the market and Apple’s insistence on refusing to deliver a truly low-cost device, not to mention the company’s strategy of refreshing the iPhone only once a year.

There are of course plenty of obstacles along the way for the Windows Phone; a not-so-robust app store and Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia are just two reasons that may work against its rising growth. However, with Microsoft expanding its Windows Phone partners to nine, most of who are in emerging markets, there is a very good chance that Windows Phone will emerge a strong contender to the leading smartphones, even if only in such markets. And that should be good enough news for Microsoft.

Windows Phone is third in global market share and heading to second place

Windows Phone is currently the third-leading mobile phone platform in the world, more than tripling its market share year-over-year and more than doubling unit sales while pushing past a slumping BlackBerry.
And Windows Phone could jump into second place very soon.

Windows Phone

“Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia,” the IDC’s Kevin Restivo said in a statement. “Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alterative to Android or iOS.”

Those further gains are possible over the next year or two as Microsoft’s primary phone parter, Nokia, transitions to an all-smartphone lineup.


Global smartphone market share, Q1 2013

But the real opportunity for both Microsoft and Nokia will come as Nokia continues its transition from feature phone sales over to Windows Phone. The company still sold something like 55 million feature phones in the first quarter of 2013, and while those cheap phones are going largely to developing nations, they will transition at some point to Windows Phone.
Those feature phones sales are decreasing, and the transition from cheap feature phone to somewhat more expensive Windows-based smartphones will decrease them still more, but they will be higher-value sales.

And, they might just be high enough, depending on what Apple does in the region of a cheaper iPhone, to catapult Microsoft to number two.

Windows Phone 7 marketplace catalog preview

Windows Phone 7 marketplace

App store analytics provider Distimo took its monthly look at the world of mobile application stores, and this time zoomed in on the differences between Microsoft‘s Windows Phone 7 Marketplace and Windows Marketplace for Mobile (6.x).

For you information, Distimo gathered data on all major app stores, but the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace data specifically was collected from 1 November until 22 November 2010, in the United States only (the store launched at the end of October 2010).

Sidenote: make sure you check out CrunchGear’s take on Windows Phone 7.

Distimo found that games are far more popular in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace than they are on Windows Marketplace for Mobile (6.x), mirroring the way Microsoft positions Windows Phone 7 as a more consumer-oriented platform.

In fact, all ten of the most popular paid applications in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace are games, with prices ranging from $2.99 – $6.99. There are only two games among the ten most popular free applications in the store.
distimo-average-price-paid-applications
Prices for applications in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace are largely the same as those in other major app stores, including the App Store for iOS devices and Android Market, but significantly lower than apps in Windows Marketplace for Mobile (6.x).

Note that this contradicts earlier, widely cited reports.

The price of applications in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace closely mirrors the prices in other application stores, with 57% of the 100 most popular apps priced below $2.

One difference: apps in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile (6.x) are significantly higher than those in its succesor: only 37% of the 100 most popular applications is priced below $2.
distimo-most-popular-categories
distimo-price-distribution-paid-applications
As of November 22, there are 2,674 applications in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace (Microsoft says there are roughly 3,000 apps in the store today). That’s not too shabby when you consider Windows Marketplace for Mobile had garnered only 1,350 applications since its debut, over a year ago.

Mirroring the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a large portion of the ten most popular apps in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace is published by Microsoft (six, to be precise).

It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

story by: techcrunch

Battling Chimeras: Windows Phone 7

windows-phone-7-steve-ballmer

Windows Phone 7 is a sprawling mobile platform that, by year’s end, will power about a dozen devices, from four manufacturers, spanning 60 carriers through 30 countries. According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Windows Phone 7 was created to be, “Always delightful and wonderfully mine.” It was a reactionary moment in the company’s history — an answer to a question asked three years earlier.

On January 7, 2007, Bill Gates, then Microsoft chairman, took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held annually in Las Vegas. Although the keynote would focus heavily on Windows Vista, the overarching theme was the pervasive connected experience. Gates:

”We see portable devices proliferating a higher and higher part of the growing PC market. We see the connections, both through Wi-Fi and 3G getting to the point where you can get information wherever you want to go. And we’re just scratching the surface.”

Robbie Bach, the former president of Entertainment & Devices at Microsoft, would explain then that delivering a connected experience was a collective ambition within Microsoft:

”[Mobility and mobile phones are] an area where we’ve made tremendous progress. This year we have some of the hottest selling phones in the marketplace, and the cool thing for me about those phones is it’s not just about phone calls, although we do that great. It’s not even just about e-mail, since that was the next round of things people wanted to be able to do, but it’s also about IMs; it’s about movies; it’s about TV; it’s about music; it’s about connected entertainment on my phone.”

Two days later, on January 9, the press room in the Las Vegas Convention Center was near capacity, but attention wasn’t on CES, which was now in full-swing, but rather a smaller event happening San Francisco. At the Moscone Center, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had just begun the the keynote for Macworld.

Rumors surrounding an Apple phone had been spread with such fervor for so many years that the device had become a sort of chimera of gadgetry. In the months leading up to Macworld 2007, however, speculation had reached fever pitch. It was all but confirmed that Jobs would unveil the device, but a showman never leads with his best material.

Jobs went on to describe how Apple had virtually conquered the digital music space through iTunes andiPods He announced AppleTV, and though it didn’t quite live up to initial expectations, it did bring iTunes directly to home theaters. And then he announced the first iPhone. The device came to define handheld connected entertainment, and it was the crucial link in the Apple connected experience chain.

Back in Vegas, it was as though all the air had been sucked out of the press room. The most important device of the decade had just been announced and it wasn’t from Microsoft or any other company at CES. Some 400 miles away, Steve Jobs was holding a weapon of mass destruction with built-in iPod and cell phone capabilities, and he was asking the the tech world what it planned to do.

And so this week, on the morning of October 11, 2010, at a swank arts center in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, Steve Ballmer pulled back the curtain for the public reveal of Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s question. Windows Phone 7 didn’t suck the air out of the room like the iPhone did back in 2007, but it is a formidable adversary.

Hardware regulations ensure that all devices running Windows Phone 7 will perform at a high level. Microsoft is also preparing to battle Apple on the music front with its Zune Music Pass, an all-you-can-eat subscription music service (which is all the more relevant in light of continuing talks of Apple’s own subscription service).

Microsoft has partnered heavily with AT&T to bring AT&T U-Verse content streaming to the devices, meaning subscribers can watch live TV for a monthly fee. There is deep Facebook integration built directly into the platform. It influences many functions of the Windows Phone 7 experience and feels as native as placing a call.

Apple has played up its gaming capabilities in a major way over the past year, but it doesn’t have Xbox 360. Microsoft does, and Xbox Live is on the Windows Phone 7 main screen. It won’t play Halo: Reach, but expect to see plenty of Xbox Live Arcade games in the very near future.

It might all be too little, too late, but it’s too early to decide with any authority. As Apple moves toward non-exclusive carrier arrangements, Microsoft has not only inked a prominent deal with AT&T, but will also be launching its devices on pretty much every other carrier you can think of. The iPhone was a revelation of a device and it caused a complete revolution in mobile, but that was the aughts.

It’s almost 2011, and anything is plausible, but what I saw yesterday left me with a number of doubts. Windows Phone 7 has likely the best user interface ever seen on a phone, but when it comes to devices that people depend on as heavily as their phones, function will always beat form. Every device that I handled had difficulty launching applications. The pervasiveness of this issue indicates something systemic (i.e. Windows Phone 7) and probably not hardware related.

This was such a problem that when Windows Phone Program Manager Joe Belfiore was demonstrating games, he specifically used multiple devices to not eat up demonstration time with app loading. In such a heavily app driven mobile environment, difficulties in this area can quickly spell disaster. Then again, maybe it was just a fluke. There were enough positive features that I’m willing to give the platform the benefit of the doubt until it proves that I shouldn’t.

story by: mashable