Yesterday, Strategy Analytics revealed that Windows Phone overtook BlackBerry as the third-largest mobile operating system during the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase in Windows devices is attributed to the successful launch of Windows Phone 8, backed by flagship hardware from Nokia and HTC. Strategy Analytics indicates that this is the first time that Windows has topped BlackBerry devices in global market share since 2006.
Questions about the validity of Strategy Analytics’ claims have been raised, especially due to the lack of concrete numbers for the entire fourth quarter, but industry analysts have generally expected that Windows Phone would eventually overtake BlackBerry for third place. Globally, Microsoft is aided in the ability to penetrate the European and African markets, but more so for their deep connection with the massive Asian markets, specifically China and India.
In the United States, Microsoft held the largest percentage of smartphone market share as recently as 2007 when their previous mobile offering—Windows Mobile—powered 42 percent of all smartphones. The current data suggests that Windows Phone will reach the second spot in both the U.S. and global markets by 2016, or that Windows Phone will grow the third place spot by picking off non-loyal Android and iOS users.
While pressure on Microsoft is increasing from BlackBerry as they prepare to release the two new devices, Windows Phone is also set to expand onto the Sprint network within the United States by summer 2013, and to also extended availability within Africa thanks to a new partnership with Chinese device manufacturer Huawei.