Windows Phone 8

Microsoft’s Window Phone OS is a credible alternative to iOS and Android.

So far it has failed to capture attention from high-end smartphone customers and is especially weak in the US — with all that implies for marker perception in the world’s noisiest market. Among other things, it doesn’t get as much support as its rivals from app developers.

It’s a different story at the low-end where a number of affordable Nokia models have done well in Europe and some emerging markets.

In its latest report on the smartphone industry, analyst company IDC is positive about Windows Phone’s future. It says:

Windows Phone continues to slowly build its global footprint, and growth is expected to outpace the market throughout the forecast period. In 2014, volumes are expected to grow 29.5% over 2013, reaching 43.3 million shipments.

This momentum is expected to continue into 2015, reaching 65.9 million units, continuing on to 115.3 million in 2018.

IDC says Windows Phone will have a 6.4 percent smartphone OS market share in 2018 compared with just 3.5 percent today. The report sees that coming mainly at Android’s expense with Google’s smartphone OS dropping from today’s 80.2 percent to 77.6 percent.

IDC sees Microsoft’s challenge as getting more phone makers behind its operating system.

That could be right. I also think Windows Phone’s fortunes depend more on how well Microsoft does with its Surface  tablets and Windows in general. Windows Phone is tightly integrated with other Microsoft products and services, so if the big picture strategy works this will see more interest in the phones.

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