PROVIDING A TASTE of what Nokia might have to look forward to, Comscore has revealed that Microsoft's launch of Windows Phone 7 (WP7) led to a 1.7 per cent drop in its US smartphone market share.
Comscore released its US smartphone market figures for the three months up to January 2011, showing that Google's Android is the most popular smartphone operating system with 31.2 per cent of the US market. During the high volume Black Friday and Christmas sales, Android's market share grew by an astonishing 7.7 percentage points.
While Google's Android was heading to the top of the charts, Research in Motion (RIM) suffered a 5.4 per cent drop in market share, slipping to second place overall with 30.4 per cent of the US market. Apple was in third place, though its market share all but stagnated at 24.7 per cent for 0.1 per cent growth during the quarter.
Perhaps the most shocking performance was that of Microsoft. Comscore's October 2010 to January 2011 figures take into account Microsoft's WP7 launch, so naturally you would expect an increase in market share as punters got caught up in the $400 million marketing blitz. Instead of an increase, however, Microsoft's US smartphone market share slumped 1.7 percentage points to just 8 per cent, a daunting loss of over 17.5 per cent of its previous quarterly market share.
Comscore's figures might explain why Microsoft has been so cagey about not revealing actual WP7 sales figures. Microsoft has yet to disclose actual sales to users, saying only that its OEMs had shipped 2 million WP7 devices into their sales channels by January.
These Comscore market share figures also call into question whether Nokia's recent deal with Microsoft will really mean that it will regain market share in the US.
If both Samsung and LG, cited by Comscore as the first and second most popular handset makers during the same period, couldn't help Microsoft increase its smartphone market share, then Nokia's chances are not looking especially good.
The calls for Nokia to adopt Android seem to have been all the more logical, given that Google saw its operating system grow by almost the same market share occupied by Microsoft in the space of three months. It's a damning fact that should make Nokia's CEO and ex-Microsoft executive Stephen Elop wonder if he has sold Nokia woefully short by jumping into bed with his former employer.
Neither Microsoft nor Nokia can realistically hope that when Comscore publishes its next set of quarterly figures WP7 will have helped either of them reverse their haemorrhaging of market share. µ