Windows Phone handsets have outsold the iPhone in seven markets including India, analyst firm IDC has revealed, and beat out BlackBerry in 26.
The countries where Windows Phone pipped the iOS handset in Q4 2012 were Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa and the Ukraine. The seventh market was a collection of countries, including Croatia, that IDC labels "rest of central and eastern Europe".
IDC mobile analyst Kevin Restivo told the New York Times there were a few qualifiers to the Windows Phone results. There's a 'Nokia effect' making Windows Phone popular where the Finnish company has traditionally been strong. Also, the grey market is sizable in some of the countries, and in Ukraine, South Africa and "rest of central and eastern Europe" fewer than 100,000 Windows Phone devices shipped in each market in the quarter.
The report of the Windows Phone milestone stems from a blog by Microsoft's head of communications Frank X Shaw mocking Google's most recent round of spring cleaning that saw the death of Google Reader.
Shaw also said Windows Phone had reach 10 percent smartphone market share in a number of countries. ZDNet has asked IDC for additional details on which markets that involves, but likely nations where Windows Phone has reached the 10 percent figure include Italy and Nokia's homeland, Finland. Consumer research firm Kantar World Panel noted that Windows Phone in the 12 weeks to December 23 accounted for 13.9 percent of smartphone sales in Italy. Nokia's cheaper Lumia 620 has proved popular there, and more broadly across Europe, Windows Phone has been gaining users previously on Android.
Overall, IDC says Windows Phone and Windows Mobile devices accounted for six percent of the 227 million smartphones shipped worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the year, Windows Phone made up 2.6 percent, however, the analyst firm is predicting Windows Phone to be the fastest growing platform between now to 2016 with a compound annual growth rate of 71.3 percent.
IDC expects Windows Phone to account for 11.4 percent of smartphone shipments by 2016, largely off the back of declining Android market share. It forecasts Apple's share of shipments to grow from 18.8 percent in 2012 to 19.1 percent by 2016, while Android 69.3 percent in 2012 declines to 63.8 percent. It predicts BlackBerry to be flat with four percent share.