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Predicting the Unpredictable

For the second time in less than a month, another high-profile tech trends and analyst firm has released its mobile forecast that points to Windows Phone 7 devices making some serious gain in the market.

While none of the recent speculative analyses (including last week's release of Gartner's mobile forecast report) has any company overtaking the steamrolling Google's Android OS, they do point to Microsoft's latest mobile attempt leapfrogging from the bottom of the pack to claim second place. Gartner actually forecasts a 19.5 percent share in the market by 2015, up from this year's modest 5.6 percent.

Apparently analyst firms are predicting the transfer of the Symbian market share straight to Microsoft, thanks to the recently inked deal between it and Nokia. However, when we first reported the IDC analysis that showed similar numbers, commentators had a field day tearing apart the flawed logic that every single Symbian owner will only jump ship for Microsoft. Not to mention the fact that the Nokia deal won't even start bearing fruit in the form of new devices until sometime late into 2012.

When it was just one report, it was easy to scoff at the predictions. But now that another (somewhat) trusted leader in the tech analysis game comes out with similar claims that many think are outlandish (just check out reader comments on the two news stories for proof on that), is there some information that these firms have that we don't know?

The problem with trying to crystal ball the consumer market is that you don't know what is coming around the bend. By the time 2015 rolls around, Apple may be onto iPhone 7 or 8, Android could have a couple of missteps that lead to consumer distrust and Research In Motion could be sucked into by another company (wow, it's really easy to be a technology trends analyst!). The point is that we don't know what the landscape of the mobile market will be by the end of the year, let alone in four years, and these reports should be taken with a huge grain of salt (especially if using them to beef up your investment portfolio).

What do you think the future holds for the mobile market, and will Microsoft actually find some mobile success? Send your thoughts to Doug at
--By Chris Paoli

Posted by Doug Barney on 04/11/2011 at 1:18 PM


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