Forbes: Microsoft to surpass Apple in smartphone market share in 3 years


Market analysts love to gaze into their crystal balls and predict the future. While they sometimes get it right, they also get it wrong more often than not. With Apple riding high and currently the most valuable technology company in America, many want to know who will dethrone them and when. The latest to make a prediction is Forbes’ Mark Fidelman who expects that Microsoft will dethrone Apple in the smartphone market within four years.

Between growing sales and BlackBerry’s implosion, Windows Phone has established itself as the third most popular mobile operating system, albeit with a 3.6% market share in Q3 2013 according to research firm Gartner. It grew 156% year over year and has found success in regions such as Latin America and India where it is now the second most used platform behind Android. Fidelman expects that Microsoft will only get stronger in those markets, something that will help it take the number two spot from Apple should the latter continue to ignore the entry-level smartphone market.

Fidelman’s argument about the entry-level smartphone market ignores that few companies aside from Apple and Samsung have been profitable in the smartphone market. Microsoft may find itself selling more smartphones than Apple in a few years but those numbers will lose much of their shine should the company prove unable to translate that into a profit.

Contributing to this expected success is Microsoft integration across platforms as diverse as Windows 8, Office 365 and Xbox. As Fidelman explains, “Microsoft will pick up a lot of new users that are looking for seamless app integration across their business and home lives. Most people will not want their information stuck in separate operating systems for much longer.”

It would be a mistake to think that Apple is unaware that customers want their apps to work and their data to be available across platforms. Given that they control the software and the hardware, they are already able to offer a well-integrated environment. It will only improve as Apple launches new devices such as the oft-rumoured Apple TV.

Forbes is not the first to make such a claim. IDC predicted last year that Windows Phone would take a narrow lead over iOS by 2016.

Shall we meet back here in 2016 to see how things stand?

It should also be pointed out that Fidelman is a Managing Director at Evolve!, a company that counts Nokia (which is about to be acquired by Microsoft) among its clients.

Source : Forbes


  1. Wow. Fidelman is clearly on more drugs than Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. He clearly wants to keep Nokia as a client.

    Windows Phones grew 156% and are now at 3.6% market share. If Apple, Samsung and Android were to pull out of the marketplace for a couple years then Microsoft might catch up. That kind of growth is seen with the early-adopter bubble but can hardly be sustainable long enough to gain any significant ground on any of the other major players. Well, maybe Blackberry. Or we could assume that all of Microsoft’s competition will suddenly cease all product development and stand pat with their current products.

    Microsoft has not had great success in the hardware market. All previous phones, tablets and even the Xbox have lost millions, if not billions of dollars. Buying Nokia will change this? Not likely. Microsoft will likely try to graft their culture onto Nokia make a mess of it or top people will jump ship. Throwing money at people to make them stay will not improve the culture it will only lower profits further.

    Analysts like this are just like TV weather presenters – they can be wrong most of the time and still keep their jobs. When it comes to hindsight, claim – “well that was an unexpected influence we couldn’t predict” and all is well again.

    1. Valid points, David. As much as I would like to see a credible third option in the mobile operating system space, Microsoft still has a ways to go to establish itself in that role. Bold predictions based on flimsy logic will not help it make any headway – That will instead rest almost solely on what it can do with Nokia, the only Windows Phone player making headway at this time.

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