Mobile Monday: Windows Phone 7 To Beat iPhone By 2015?

Oh, analysts! You can somehow make the wackiest ideas ever sound somewhat reasonable. Never change! Like the latest projections from iSuppli, which claims that Windows Phone 7 market share will overtake iPhone in 2015.

This impressive assertion is based on Nokia's partnership with Redmond and the positive reception to the Lumia 900 unveiled at CES this year. According to IHS iSuppli, it will be Nokia's partnership that will drive Windows Phone sales up from less than 2 per cent last year to 16.7 per cent in 2015.

The increase in sales won't hurt Apple though. iSuppli believes that the iPhone will slowly decrease its marketshare from 18 per cent to 16.6 per cent over the next three years.

Android will understandably stretch its lead, jumping from 47.4 per cent last year to 58.1 per cent in 2015.

But it will be the other operating systems — BlackBerry, Symbian, Bada and other smaller players that will shed customers like a bucket full of holes sheds water, dropping from 32.7 per cent last year to just 8.6 per cent in 2015.

Of course, someone even a little bit sceptical could wonder how a company like iSuppli could even begin to predict where a company like Apple's market share will go given the amount of secrecy around its product lineups. Traditionally Apple has opted for a simple, single product refresh every year, but should Cupertino decide to release a two-phone strategy (like the often rumoured iPhone Mini, for example, or maybe a larger-screened model), then how can anyone claim to guess how much marketshare they can expect to have in three years time?

It's also ridiculous to pin Microsoft's success on a single handset. Admittedly, Nokia is certain to release multiple Windows Phone handsets over the next few years, but iSuppli's justification for claiming such a bold resurgence for the Microsoft OS is flawed:

“One of the hottest new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show was the Lumia 900, a Windows Phone-based smartphone sporting a flashy set of features that makes it competitive with the best alternatives offered by the Android camp,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “This hot product represents Nokia’s first step to reclaim its market share. Combined with Nokia’s efforts to drive the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem, the Lumia 900 and its successors will help Microsoft to reclaim its No. 2 ranking in smartphone operating system market share in 2015.”

The Lumia 900 received some positive press at CES, but it still hasn't been released, even in the US where it's expected to sell well. Nor has it been extensively reviewed, which could expose some major flaw that could impact sales. Even if it doesn't have a major flaw, Nokia handsets have traditionally struggled in the US market, where iSuppli is expecting the handset to succeed the most.

So will Windows Phone overtake the iPhone in three years from now? Maybe. Short of inventing a real flux capacitor, we'll only find out three years from now...

[IHS iSuppli]

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