Microsoft's Mobile Market Share Slips Ahead of Windows Phone 8 Release
Anticipation for Windows Phone 8 may have put a dent in the Microsoft's mobile third-quarter market share.
That's one of the takeaways in a Gartner Inc. report released Wednesday on worldwide smartphone sales in Q3 2012. According to the research firm, roughly 4.1 million Windows Phone devices were sold worldwide in that period, giving Microsoft a 2.4 percent market share in the global smartphone market. That's a jump of nearly a full percentage point -- or about 2.4 million units sold -- over Q3 2011.
Despite the year-over-year growth, however, Windows Phone's global market share slipped from the 2.7 percent it achieved in Q2 2012. Gartner attributed the decline to consumers delaying purchases of Windows Phone devices until Windows Phone 8 becomes available in their area.
"Windows Phone's share weakened quarter-on-quarter as the Windows Phone 8 launch dampened demand of Windows Phone 7 devices," the researcher said in a statement.
Microsoft formally launched Windows Phone 8 in late October, but the first devices did not become available for sale until earlier this month. Consequently, Windows Phone 8 is not accounted for in Gartner's latest figures.
As it did in Q3 2011, Windows Phone ranked sixth in Gartner's market share standings for smartphone OSes in Q3 2012. Perennial leader Google Android held on to its first-place standing with 72.4 percent global share on 122.5 million units sold -- more than double the number of Android devices sold in the year-ago period. Apple's iOS is a distant second with 13.9 percent worldwide share on 23.6 million units sold.
Rounding out the top five are Research In Motion's Blackberry OS (5.3 percent share), Samsung's Bada (3.0 percent) and the Symbian (2.6 percent).
In terms of hardware makers, Nokia, which tied its mobile device fortunes to Microsoft and the Windows Phone platform in early 2011, is struggling to sell smartphones. According to Gartner, the Finnish manufacturer fell from its No. 3 spot among smartphone manufacturers in Q2 to No. 7 in Q3, selling just over 7 million smartphones worldwide in the period.
Nokia has announced a new line of devices running Windows Phone 8, including the flagship Lumia 920, at varying price points. Gartner projects that sales of these new devices will give Nokia's smartphone sales a boost in the next quarter.
"The arrival of the new Lumia devices on Windows 8 should help to halt the decline in share in the fourth quarter of 2012, although it won't be until 2013 to see a significant improvement in Nokia's position," Gartner said.
The leading smartphone manufacturers are Apple and Samsung, which together account for 46.5 percent of the global smartphone market, according to Gartner. In the third spot is RIM and in the fourth HTC.
Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editor of Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and AWSInsider.net, and the editorial director of Converge360.