Mobile Devices

February 14, 2013

Microsoft's Fight to Capture Smartphone Market Share

There’s good news and bad news for the Windows Phone. First, the good news: Gartner’s report for Q4 2012 showed Windows Phone sales increased by 124 percent.

Now, the bad news: In the same quarter, Android and iOS captured 91.1 percent of market share. And even the wounded BlackBerry is still beating out the Windows Phone.

Microsoft should have had no trouble snatching sales from BlackBerry (formerly known as RIM). While the Z10 phone, released January 30, is getting strong reviews, BlackBerry has suffered greatly from multiple release delays.

During Q4 2012, BlackBerry’s market share dropped from 8.8 percent in Q4 2011 to just 3.5 percent. Microsoft’s Windows Phone market share grew from 1.8 percent to 3.0 percent, which places it still behind BlackBerry in the market.

In fact, the main beneficiary of BlackBerry’s missteps appears to be Android. Android’s market share grew by nearly 20 percent during the same period.

Why can’t Microsoft sell everyone on the Windows Phone? The company has no hope of catching up to Android or iOS phones anytime soon, but grabbing third place from the ailing BlackBerry prior to the Z10 should have been a cinch.

Daniel Rubino of Windows Phone Central has suggested eight major fixes that Windows Phones need right now. For instance, Android, iPhone and BlackBerry all have notification centers that provide users with an overview of their e-mail, texts and other notifications.

Windows Phone has Live Tiles, but the solution is still fragmented. Instead of seeing everything at a glance, users have to press individual tiles for e-mail and other functions.

The Windows Phone also does not support Instagram, which is an instant deal breaker for a surprising number of customers. The phone also offers no way to group apps into folders and no “X” to close out of multiple windows.

Xbox gaming on Windows Phone has underwhelmed many reviewers. Additionally, Windows Phones throw out a lot of DRM errors for Xbox music and doesn’t support Xbox videos.

If the BlackBerry Z10 is as fantastic as reviewers say, the Microsoft has to make the Windows Phone better—and quickly. No one wants to stay in fourth place.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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