Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced the next version of the Windows OS will be named Windows 10 and will be available to consumers from April 2015. The new OS is expected to be a single unified OS available for all Windows powered devices, including Windows Phones, tablets and Desktop PCs. This is especially crucial to Microsoft’s hopes of gaining a stronger foothold in the smartphone market. According to AdDuplex statistics for Windows Phone for September 2014, the latest Windows Phone 8.1 OS is now present in 40% of WP devices and is expected to overtake the market share of Windows Phone 8 OS by the end of October 2014.
Nokia’s Popularity is Still Growing Strongly
Nokia still controls the monopoly of Windows phone devices with a massive market share of 95.14% worldwide. New devices powered by WP 8.1 released over the last few months has cemented Nokia’s position further, and several more Lumia models such as the Lumia 730, Lumia 735, Lumia 830 are all set to be released over the next few months. The new Nokia Lumia 630 has proven widely popular in several markets worldwide and has moved to the fourth place with a market share of 5.4%. The older Lumia 520 continues to be the most popular device with a market share of 30.6%.
Despite offering the Windows Phone 8.1 OS free of licensing fee to all OEM’s, only smaller firms such as Prestigo and Micromax have shown real interest. All the other firms, including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KRX:005930), Huawei Technology Co Ltd (SHE:002502) and HTC Corp (TPE:2498) have lost a bit of market share since August 2014.
Windows Phone OS In The United States
The market share of WP in the US is hovering close to 5%, but the large-scale adoption of Windows phone has been slow due to the lack of attention from the various telecom carriers. Over the past few months, the global rollout of Windows phone 8.1 OS has taken place at blistering pace globally, yet several carriers in the US are yet to release the update for Windows phone devices. New users are often discouraged from purchasing high-end Windows phone devices. This is the reason several low margin devices such as Lumia 520, Lumia 521, and Lumia 630 are still leading in the US Windows Phone market. AT&T remained the largest operator for Windows phone with a market share of 30.4%, followed by other large carriers including Verizon.
The Top Five European Countries
The European market is important for Windows Phone since countries such as Italy, Germany have done impressively well and have even exceeded the market share of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. At present the market share of WP OS stands at 9.2% in the top five European countries. Windows phone has grown steadily at the expense of Apple in several European countries, and the emergence of a third viable ecosystem has also shifted perceptions towards Windows Phone in Europe. When taking Europe as a whole, the Lumia 520 had a market share of 31.8%, while the Lumia 625 has the second most popular device with a market share of 9.8%.
Emerging economies such as India and Brazil represent two of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world. India is one such market where Microsoft hopes to challenge Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android over the coming years. The launch of several low-cost smartphones through Android One has triggered the race in the low-budget smartphone market. To meet the challenge the low-cost Lumia 530 was introduced with a price tag less than US$100. Several other low cost devices such as the 520, 525 and the Lumia 630 are popular among users in India. The Lumia 520 is unsurprisingly the most popular device by market share at 34.2%. Other models include mid-range devices such as the Lumia 720, Lumia 625 and Lumia 620.
The situation is no different in Brazil. Here again low-cost devices are more popular with the Lumia 520 owning a market share of 44%. The older 710 model is surprisingly the second most popular device with a market share of 13.9%, while the third most popular device is the 720, with a market share of 9.7%. The Lumia 630 has again done well by reaching 4th position with a market share of 5.2%.
Is Starting Over Really Feasible?
It is clear from the outset that Windows Phone has failed to gain the much needed explosive growth required in several key markets. The market share of WP OS globally is a dismal 2.5%, and there are genuine concerns that Microsoft may not be able to stay relevant in the market with such low rates of adoption. The arrival of Windows 10 may once again restart the entire process, as a single unified OS would bring transformative changes to the User interface. This may end up creating frustration for users and developers alike. However, if Windows 10 can successfully provide a unified interface across all devices, it will truly be a great accomplishment.