There's hope for Microsoft in the smartphone market: The most recent sales figures from Gartner show Windows Phone sales growing by more than 124% compared to a year previous. It's now close enough to Blackberry's market share that it should soon overtake it.
The Gartner report found that Windows Phone's worldwide share of the smartphone market jumped to 3% in the fourth quarter of 2012, more than a 124% increase over its 1.8% market share of a year previous. Blackberry's market share during that period plummeted, dropping from 8.8% in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The report also found that Android has widened its lead over iOS and all other competitors, with a 69.7% market share in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to a 51.3% market share a year previous. iOS, meanwhile, dropped from 23.6% market share in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 20.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The news is certainly good for Windows Phone. But keep in mind that it's easy to achieve a big percentage growth when you start off with a dismal market share of 1.8%. And despite its big growth, it still only has an anemic 3% market share.
Still, Microsoft will take anything it can get. And in the battle for the number three spot in the smartphone market, Windows Phone should top Blackberry, despite Blackberry's newly released operating system.
There are plenty of reasons Windows Phone will overtake Blackberry. The main one is this: The smartphone wars have become a battle of entire ecosystems, not just a battle of devices and operating systems. No longer are you just buying a piece of software wrapped in hardware when you buy smartphones. You buy into the OS's entire ecosystem of cloud storage and services, entertainment options, related hardware, and more. Microsoft has a big ecosystem, including Windows for PCs and tablets, Windows Phone for smartphones, Microsoft Office for all of them, the Xbox gaming system, SkyDrive cloud-based storage, and much more. Blackberry has Blackberry phones, and not much else.
It's exceedingly unlikely that Windows Phone will ever overtake Android or iOS. But expect it to take over the number three spot from Blackberry, certainly within a year and most likely sooner.