Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

Summary: Market share for Windows Phone collapse from 2.7% in Q3 '10 to 1.5% in Q3 '11.


According to data released by Gartner, the market share for Microsoft's Windows Phone handsets has crashed dramatically over the past twelve months.

In a period where Gartner claims that Android saw its market share increase from 25.3% during the third quarter of 2010 to 52.5% for the last quarter, Microsoft saw the market share of Windows Phone collapse from an already precarious 2.7% to a feeble 1.5%. Sales over the period fell from 2.2 million to 1.7 million.

While Microsoft has lost a lot of ground, other players have also lost ground to Android. Symbian's market share halved, dropping from 36.3% in Q3 '10 to 16.9% in Q3 '11. Over the same period Gartner's data shows that RIM's market share fell from 15.4% to 11.0%, and even iOS fell from 16.6% to 15.0% (unit sales for both RIM and iOS increased).

Gartner reports that Nokia has seen a significant drop in unit sales:

Despite the drop in sales, Nokia is still shifting a lot of handsets (more than Samsung and LG combined) and it's clear why Microsoft is betting the Windows Phone farm on Nokia. Despite rocky economics, Nokia sells phones that people want. If Nokia can sell Windows Phone handsets like it it was selling Symbian handsets last year, the platform will gain significant traction.

Question is, will people embrace Windows Phone like they once embraced Symbian?

Topics: Windows, CXO, IT Priorities, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

    Bada took it's share.
    • Bada is a primarilly feature phone OS

      so if you want to use a feature phone while I continue to use the best smartphone OS on the planet - (WP7), so be it.

      Don't know why you even bother.
      William Farrell
      • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

        @William Farrell

        Bada is not bad.
      • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

        @William Farrell while I try and refrain from responding to trolls, I will reply to your troll. If only to shed the light of reality on your head. Nokia is currently selling more feature phones than smartphones. Windows mobile phone 7 OS, is not going to change that. People are actively avoiding any phone with a Microsoft OS on it. The numbers clearly show this, and the trend is not going to stop, because of an article on ZDNet.
  • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

    Who knows?

    To be fair, no one I know bought their Nokias because of Symbian, they bought them because they are Nokias.

    And also, WP7 is way better than Symbian, so if quality of the OS is an issue, and it mostly isn't, they'll definitely buy a WP Nokia.
    • Why change?

      Then why will they change their behavior if Nokia replaces Symbian with WP? If they didn't care it was Symbian, why will they care it's WP? It'll be a "Nokia," right?

      If the tables above are accurate, only one-fifth of Nokia's unit sales have any serious OS at all. The vast majority are "feature phones" with some no-name embedded OS that the customers don't even see. How does Nokia's admittedly stellar performance in this segment help Microsoft? At the rate Android is running away with the smartphone segment, it doesn't look like the Nokia name is worth all that much to smartphone buyers.
      Robert Hahn
  • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

    Doesn't matter, win8 metro devices will change the game!
    • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

      @DJK2 I agree the Metro UI is beautiful. Once across three screens from WP7 to Xbox to Windows 8 the tide will turn.
    • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

      @DJK2 ...And that's a reminder that if you buy a Windows Phone 7 phone today it will be obsolete long before the 2-year contract is up because W8 is due in 2012 and is guaranteed to be incompatible with the current Mango phones. So go ahead and buy one now, and carry around in your pocket for over a year a reminder of your lack of foresight. Sounds like a great deal.
      • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

        @symbolset Obsolete in what way, that people are forced to upgrade to the very latest os , given that most needs are met with the current one ? I think not. I really enjoy the stability, speed and usefulness of wp7, and I will not be in any hurry to upgrade. I want to talk and text ( with amazing threading from other sources mind you ) and some social networking and picture viewing /sending along the way, xbox live, and that suffices for me, and I suspect many others. Anything else is extra and I don't necessarily need it. So keep your predictions and assumptions to yourself, because they do not apply to me, and no doubt millions of others. We aren't all complete geeks, we just want core functionality, and with wp7 we get that in pure spades. I love mine, and am glad it exists because Android was a exercize in futility over battery life and stability and I don't mind leaving behind the nasty fragmentation.
    • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes


      Yeah WP7 was going to be a stellar seller.
      Alan Smithie
  • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

    Nokia won't help Microsoft gain market share. Microsoft's OS won't be on Nokia's lower end phones - the phones responsible for Nokia's high sales figures - and Nokia no longer leads the pack on high end. As long as that remains the status quo for the next year, Microsoft is toast.
    • Toast in what way?

      Just like Windows was toast, Server was toast, Xbox was toast, Kinnect was toast, ect?

      As long as they stay with it, they will grow. compared side to side with Android, android is problematic, so people will look at other things.
      William Farrell
    • MS hasn't really marketed Windows Phones in several ...


      ... months. The charts in the article simply reflect that. What will be interesting to see, is if the new MS / Nokia marketing push becomes successful for Windows Phone this time around. I believe the most crucial difference will be Nokia's ability to secure sales staff in carrier stores, to enthusiastically push its Windows Phones. If MS / Nokia can do this, then I expect Windows Phone sales will take off.
      P. Douglas
      • I asked the question of Adrian

        @P. Douglas
        that does this reflect the new hardware just released? The fact that people bought year old hardware running WP7 is interesting, given that not a ton of new models have come out since it's release, something which is only happening now.
        William Farrell
    • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

      @eMJayy It is easy to under-estimate MS in this when Ballmer is still CEO and jumping around stages and such. In spite of bad management, weak product launches, and hundreds of thousands of bugs, WP8 WILL again make MS a major player. Simply look at the kids graduating... what are they learning to write? Linux? Apple? still more than 3 to 1 some form of MS coding.
  • Things MS needs to fix

    There is a lot that is excellent about Windows Phone. It is, overall, the most coherent smartphone OS. That said, it is probably that way because it came the latest and hasn't had to tack on all kinds of functions, one at a time, like Android has.

    Furthermore, there are some serious shortcomings it needs to overcome. Without addressing the following things, there is simply no way one can reasonably recommend windows phone to serious users (and note that my only phone is a Windows Phone).

    1) Multitasking. Get some. What exists on Mango doesn't count. Not. Even. Close. Please see webOS if you need any help.

    2) Make email not suck. I should be able to edit the content of a reply or forward. I should be able to reply or forward from an account different than the one I received my email in. I should be able to browse for and attach any kind of document I have on my phone, from an office file to a PDF to an MP3, picture or video.

    3) Make some kind of notification system. Right now I can get "toast" notifications from any app, but these disappear after a few seconds and once they do, there is no way to get them back again. On the lock screen, only the built-in applications for phone, email and messaging can leave a persistent reminder. This needs to be opened up to all applications, and there needs to be a way to get right to the relevant application from the lock screen. Please see iOS' lock screen and webOS' notification system (although this is probably impossible to tack on at this point).

    4) Open up live tiles. MS' own apps can do things like trigger a counter when the lock screen is lifted. 3rd party applications can't do things like that. The live tile is a widget by another name. Treat it like one or get squashed by Android.

    5) Hardware. Improve it. I don't care that WP runs like butter on single core chips. I don't care that 800x480 is still a respectable screen resolution. Open up the platform so that hardware vendors can innovate -- or at least just slap WP on their latest Android handsets. The simple fact -- often touted by WP enthusiasts -- is that not even the absolute latest and greatest Android handsets run nearly as smoothly as WP when navigating the OS. But these same handsets do play smoother, higher resolution games, etc., because of their better CPUs and nicer screens, and because of...

    6) Native applications. Probably MS is waiting for Win8/WP8, but there has got to be a way to get native applications that will run on both systems *today*. If I can run native Windows programs on Linux using WINE, I should be able to run native WP7.5 programs on WP8 when it eventually debuts.

    MS are off to the best start in mobile OS history. But the head start that Android has is enormous, and even a year after release WP really just doesn't compete.
    x I'm tc
    • All these things of which you speak have nothing to do with market share

      They are nice to haves for the 0.000001% that would care about them. WP is already the best choice for 99+% of smart phone consumers. It will gain considerable share over the next 3 years because of that as it continues to separate itself from the lesser is like android and ios. So yes in answer to the question, people will embrace it in droves once they've seen what it can do.
      Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes

        @Johnny Vegas but 99.999999999% of the consumers rejected Microsoft???s mobile OS. I do not see Windows taking off as a mobile OS, because it has failed twice before. It first failed as zune, then later as kin. The UI is just plain ugly, and the phones are basically just leftover Android wannabes. Nokia lost a lot of mindshare when they announced they were leaving the smartphone segment. The numbers, in the article, reflect that. When you lose 20% marhetshare that quickly, it says you have lost the trust if your customers. Sure there will always be this less than intelligent companies that are so wed to Microsoft products, that they will buy any fecal matter that has Microsoft on it. But Nokia screwed themselves, and that will become evident soon enough.
    • RE: Gartner: Windows Phone market share crashes


      Thank you for having a well reasoned argument, something rare on ZDNet comments these days!

      I especially agree with number 1, 3 and 5.