IDC, Microsoft at odds over future Windows Phone market share

IDC, Microsoft at odds over future Windows Phone market share

Summary: Microsoft projects Windows Phone will have market share of 15 percent in 2018. IDC projects 10 percent share for Windows Phone in 2017. The old prediction from IDC: 20 percent Windows Phone share in 2015. Keep guessing folks.


One of the key assumptions behind the Microsoft purchase of Nokia's device and services unit was that Windows Phone could garner 15 percent market share in 2018. Some folks on a conference call found that assumption optimistic. Turns out IDC does too.

Microsoft dished out the following slide to justify its Nokia device purchase.



Given that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned BlackBerry repeatedly it's clear where he company thinks it'll gain market share. However, IDC projects the following market share for 2017.



Let's get real, both parties are guessing. Keep in mind that IDC was way too optimistic about Windows Phone just a few years ago. In 2011, IDC projected 20 percent market share for Windows Phone by 2015.

Rest assured, there's a lot of growth to be had. IDC is projecting that smartphones will hit the 1 billion unit mark in 2013 as mobile phones grow at a 7.3 percent clip. In 2017, IDC projects that the smartphone market will hit 1.7 million shipments.

Overall, the smartphone landscape will continue to be dominated by Android and iOS, but Windows Phone should take BlackBerry's market position and potentially poach from Android.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, iOS, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia

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  • I would go with platform owner's data

    over suit & tie analysts anytime. Whether it is Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM or any, I choose to follow the owner, no other.
    Ram U
  • IDC Guessing

    I'd be interested why they are guessing a slight increase for iOS, but a steep drop for Android. Seems like they should have an explanation for that.
    • Good question.

      Ram U
    • IDC already wrong in 2013

      IDCs 2013 baseline is already low, perhaps as much as 100% by end of Q3.
      • There is a reason to never trust

        Microsoft's numbers. Microsoft has historically "fudged" the numbers, to make themselves look bigger than they are. Microsoft counts units sitting unsold, in a warehouse, as part of their Marketshare. As for hardware, they never breakout which shipments are new sales, and which are warranty repairs. They count only "how many ship, from all locations". You ever wonder why the xbox 360 has the largest "Marketshare", but the smallest "installed base", of the three consoles?
        Troll Hunter J
    • Microsoft pulling the plug on Android?

      Microsoft licenses its patent portfolio in order for Android to be "legal." If Microsoft pulls the plus Android devices will have to be sold in back alleys. Apple may very well get thier patents enforced on Android as well. Making shipments of Galaxy devices to the US nill. So the fact that Google has offended 3 different tech companies with Android may very well catch up to them.
  • Interesting numbers

    Does this means IDC believes Windows Phone is going to eat Android's share? It will be interesting to know their reasoning :-)
    • I doubt they'll hit 5%

      With WP 9, added to the mix, because they'll eventually have to deduct WM 6.x, and possibly even WM 7.x. When you're "marketshare" is a rounding error, after three years, it's time to rethink, replan, or get out. Buying Blackberry, and dumping WP would be their best shot, but current management is too blinded (by Metro) to see that cliff.
      Troll Hunter J
      • Yeah?

        They are already at 5.6% in the US.
  • Definitely guessing....

    ...who would have guessed 4-5 years ago that Android would have 75% of the market?
    • I did.

      So did a lot of people who wondered what IDC was smoking and how much MS was paying them to over-estimate Windows usage. Go back in the archives to when the KIN came out\ died for example and look at comments. .
  • My personal conspiracy theory...

    Nokia had a Microsoft exec come on as a CEO for several years now, that person has done nothing but serve MS interests, they setup Windows 8 exclusivity which lost money and angered investors, dropped Symbian which limited their ability to market cheap flip phones and pushed China to use Android, Apple, Blackberry, and some Windows phones. Microsoft in return used them to market Windows 8 as a viable handset (to other handset providers), they held them in a position they couldn't use Android themselves, and left them with massive losses and angry stock holders selling at a loss a phone with great specs and a crappy OS nobody was buying.

    So by now, if I was an investor; I'd realize that the CEO was a puppet for Microsoft and that we'd been duped into investing into a company they've been systematically using for their own gain and devaluing in the process. I don't care about Nokia "per se", but I want my money. Microsoft buys out Nokia and investors get enough of a payoff to cash out or stay on and get MS stock instead which can eat the massive losses that Nokia will incur. In the meantime, plants close, people get left unemployed, but on the books the whole nasty mess will quietly go away.
  • IDC, Microsoft at odds over future Windows Phone market share

    Since Microsoft is the one with the actual sales numbers I'll go with their predictions over IDC. One thing is for sure is that Microsoft Windows Phone is continuing to grow. The momentum is there and more apps are being ported to it every day.
  • So in other words

    nobody has a clue and all we can do is guess. :)
  • Windows Phone has been doing fantasticlly well in Europe

    Wow, 100% marketshare growth in 1 year in a market that has exploded in growth. KUDOS Microsoft and KUDOS Nokia.

    North America has been difficult for Nokia to break into (this was true long before Nokia switched to WP) but now that it is Microsoft, and North America is Xbox's strongest market, Microsoft may be more successful here.

    China seems wrapped up by Android, don't see that changing any time soon.

    Ultimately, it is up to Microsoft to get WP into the hands of as many people as possible, just to try. Once someone tries a WP, in my experience, they are hooked, and wonder why they suffered so long under ios.
    • Huh? Those charts show Android growing 5 - 10x as fast as Windows ...

      ... and that's not even adjusted for the populations involved, which make it even worse. It's frankly ludicrous to say WinPhone is doing fantasticlly (sic) well, given those stats.

      p.s. I think updated stats since then are about the same ... more marginal growth for Windows, more growth way beyond that for Android.
  • IDC was always optimistic about WP share

    When Nokia announced the WP strategy their numbers for 2012 were near 300% inflated, but they where far from being the most optimistic.

    In reality this is a guess work, 10% or 15% seem reasonable numbers. The problem is if Microsoft (and Nokia, till 2014 it's Nokia) can place in the market great products. So far WP seems to be less than a stellar product relying mostly on Nokia brand name.

    And here is the graph for Windows phone market share evolution - source IDC (one picture worths 1000 words):
    • Wow, that picture IS worth 1000 words

      Look at ios freefall. It is the ONLY one falling. Android and WP are both doing fantastically well.

      Thanks for that picture.

      Kudos Google.

      Kudos Microsoft.
      • "Both fantastically well"

        Yes both lines are almost one over the other, I need to zoom in to distinguish both apart :)
  • Lets not forget Windows Phone's patent portfolio!

    Its worth just as much as Windows Phone! And almost every Android device must have a license to this patent portfolio. So essentially almost every Android device carries with it a license for Windows Phone. Therefore, Microsoft owns 80% global market share of Smartphones.