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 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.
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.