Telecom & Wireless

Apple Will Be Thrashed By Microsoft In Four Years

All Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has to do is hang on for a few years and it will have a huge share of the smartphone market due to its partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). IDC says that Windows will have 20% of the OS smartphone market in 2015. That will allow it to surge ahead of the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS which will only have a share of 16.9%, a drop from its current level of 18.2%.

According to the (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, “vendors will ship a total of 472 million smartphones in 2011 compared to roughly 305 million units shipped in 2010. That figure will nearly double to 982 million by the end of 2015.” The smartphone growth figure seems plausible. The Nokia/Microsoft Windows number does not. IDC expects the change will occur because of the “breadth within markets where Nokia has historically had a strong presence.”

But, Nokia’s “breadth” has begun to disappear quickly and it is naive to think that the world’s largest handset company can get it back. Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android OS is expected to be No.1 in market share in 2015 at 43.8%. That figure could be much higher if its rate of adoption grows nearly as fast as it has since Android was released. One of the most impressive parts of Android’s success is its presence on smartphones made by a wide number of companies from Taiwan’s HTC to Motorola to Samsung. Samsung is the second largest handset maker in the world, and it has made strong inroads throughout the sector with its new Android-powered Captivate and Galaxy products. The advance of Android should be much greater than IDC expects.

IDC’s estimates of Apple’s iOS may also be too low. Granted, the operating system is only available on Apple products, but a large number of analysts believe that Apple smartphone sales will continue to grow rapidly as the company releases new versions of the product, lowers prices on some versions, and launches a 4G version.

The IDC forecast is harder to defend that it is to reject.

Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2011 and 2015 Market Share and 2011-2015 Compound Annual Growth Rate

Operating System

2011 Market Share

2015 Market Share

2011-2015 Unit CAGR





BlackBerry OS












Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile












Douglas A. McIntyre

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