In December Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows published Windows Phone Turned the Corner in 2013. Thurrott is an influential US blogger and his story was picked up by other media.
Thurrott’s story looks at what went to make 2013 a turnaround year for Windows phone sales.
However, 2013 wasn’t all good news for Windows Phone. In January GigaOm’s Kevin C. Tofel reported a murkier picture in Nokia finishes 2013 with 30M Lumias sold, ending on a falling note. That’s significant as it was the last quarter before Microsoft is expected to take control of the business.
Windows Phone sales rise
2013 was nothing less than a blockbuster success for Windows Phone, which went from industry also-ran to the undisputed third mobile ecosystem, and is poised to challenge iPhone for the number two spot.
The main thrust of the story is that 12 months earlier Windows Phone was in fourth place, by the end of 2013 it zoomed past BlackBerry into the third spot.
Third place, by the way, is just 3.6 percent of the worldwide market for smartphone operating systems. That’s not much. Android is at more than 80 percent and, at the time of writing, Apple’s iPhone was sitting on 12.5 percent.
30 million smartphones in 2013
Overall Nokia sold around 30 million smartphones in 2013. The numbers were looking good until the fourth quarter of the year when they fell back slightly.
Nokia was expected to sell around 10 million phones in the fourth quarter. That number was quoted by analysts after the company’s earnings preview. There are unconfirmed reports the company sold 8.2 million phones in the quarter, that’s less than the 8.8 million Nokia sold in the third quarter.
The drop is larger than it looks because smartphone makers usually get a sales boost in the final three months of the year because Christmas is an important selling period.
Nokia doesn’t exist in a vacuum, Apple launched two new iPhones during the fourth quarter to the usual rapturous reception. Yet the news comes at a crucial time for Microsoft which paid more than US$ billion to buy Nokia’s phone business. If the reports are correct, Nokia could join the list of urgent items on the new CEO’s agenda.