LATE TO THE SMARTPHONE PARTY, Microsoft is finally starting to see a return on the millions it has spent advertising Windows Phone as its market share is edging upwards.
Figures from analyst outfit IDC show that 3.6 million handsets running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile operating systems were shipped in the third quarter of 2012, which might be a small number but it still represents a 140 percent increase from the same period in 2011. However to illustrate just how far behind Microsoft is, IDC said 136 million Android handsets were shipped in the same period, a 91.5 percent increase from 2011.
Handsets running Google's Android mobile operating system accounted for 75 percent of total smartphone shipments in the third quarter, an astounding figure by anyone's estimation. Apple's Iphones running IOS came in with 14.9 percent market share and an impressive 57.3 percent increase in shipments from 2011.
Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker said, "The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named IOS since Android's introduction isn't a coincidence. The smartphone operating system isn't an isolated product, it's a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions."
Microsoft might see its shipment numbers increase in the fourth quarter thanks to Windows Phone 8 devices from Nokia, Samsung and HTC, but given the release of Apple's Iphone 5 and a number of high-end Android devices, few will bet on the firm making a serious dent in the smartphone market during the lucrative holiday buying season. µ