Android to Top Mobile Operating Systems, But Windows Will Outpace iOS by 2016 (GOOG, AAPL, MSFT, NOK, RIMM)June 6, 2012 by Paul Ausick
Growth in mobile phone shipments this year is expected to be about 4%, the lowest growth rate since 2009. That’s according to the latest global mobile phone tracking data from IDC. Total phone shipments are expected to reach 1.8 billion, of which almost 62% are feature phones. Feature phones, sometimes called “talk and text” phones, will see shipments drop -10% year-over-year in 2012. Smartphones will account for about 39% of shipments this year, or 686 million units.
According to IDC:
The mobile phone user transition from feature phones to smartphones will continue in a gradual but unabated fashion. Smartphone growth, however, will increasingly be driven by a triumvirate of smartphone operating systems, namely Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.
The Android operating system from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) is expected to grab a 61% share of the market this year, with iOS from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) accounting for 20.5% of shipments, followed by the Blackberry OS from Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) with 6%, and the Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile operating systems from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) with 5.2% share. Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) will no longer support the Symbian operating system, and shipments of Symbian-based phones are expected to approach zero by 2014.
The IDC research also forecasts smartphone operating system market share through 2016. In that year, Android is still expected to own nearly 53% market share, followed by Apple and Microsoft/Nokia in a virtual tie with 19.2% and 19% share, respectively. RIM is forecast to stay at about 6%, with all others totaling 3%. The compound annual growth rate for Microsoft’s operating system is projected to be 46.2% from 2012-2016, while Apple and RIM will both post faster compound growth rates than Android.
The big news here is that Windows Phone is expected to pass Apple’s iOS, if only by a fraction, by 2016. Is that really possible? Maybe. Microsoft announced today that consumers who buy a new PC between now and the end of the year will be able to upgrade to the company’s new Windows 8 OS for just $15. What’s to stop the Redmond giant for making a similar offer to buyers of a Microsoft/Nokia smartphone? After all, it’s only money and Microsoft has a cash hoard of about $60 billion to finance such an offer. Buying market share is a time-honored tactic in the technology sphere.