IDC: Nokia users will push Windows Phone share above iPhone by 2015

Summary:It's no secret that Nokia is expecting, hoping (and probably praying) that all of its Nokia smartphone users will become Windows Phone users in the not-so-distant future. But at least one market-research firm is counting on this happening by 2015.

It's no secret that Nokia is expecting, hoping (and probably praying) that all of its Nokia smartphone users will become Windows Phone users in the not-so-distant future. But at least one market-research firm is counting on this happening by 2015.

International Data Corp. (IDC) made available some of its latest predictions available in a March 29 press release for its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. (Thanks to WinRumors.com for the pointer to the press release.)

It's not too surprising that IDC is predicting that Android will remain the dominant smartphone OS between now and 2015, growing its current worldwide share from 39.5 percent to 45.4 percent. But IDC is predicting that Microsoft's Windows Phone OS will come in at No. 2 by 2015, growing from 5.5 percent share this year to 20.9 percent. Meanwhile, IDC claims that iOS will drop from 15.7 percent share, to 15.3 percent share in 2015.

Here's IDC's chart:

(click on the chart to enlarge)

So how is Windows Phone OS going to catapult to No. 2 in four years? If you look at IDC's chart, it will largely happen by picking up almost all the Symbian share, according to IDC. IDC is predicting the 20.9 percent Symbian share will be down to .2 percent by 2015. I'm sure Microsoft is counting on getting a hefty share boost from its $1 billion-plus investment in Nokia, but will the Softies manage to hold onto almost all the Symbian base, as Nokia tries to wean them from Symbian? I'd think, given some Nokia users' skepticism about the sanity of the deal, more than a few might go Android or iOS.

Four years is an eternity in the smartphone business. Lots of unanticipated things could (and will) happen between now and then. Plus, as we've seen with the Microsoft-Yahoo partnership, two vendors' market shares combined don't necessarily equal the total of their respective shares. Nonetheless, Nokia has stated in recent financial filings that its ultimate goal is to try to “retain and transition the installed base of approximately 200 million Symbian owners to Nokia Windows Phone smartphones over time."

What's your take? Are the IDC analysts overly optimistic, in terms of Windows Phone's potential gains from the Nokia deal? Or is the Nokia deal Microsoft's guarantee of relevancy in the smartphone market?

And for the record -- I have no idea how anyone can predict (or even guess) what the mobile market will look like four years from now. Even the growing number patent lawsuits among all the different players alone could end up having a significant impact on the players and shares by then (maybe). So remember: Don't shoot the messenger here. I am not backing IDC's prediction; I am simply noting it....

More from my ZDNet colleague Larry Dignan:

Four Reasons Why IDC's 2015 Nokia-Microsoft Predictions Are Bunk

Topics: Software, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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