A new report from the IDC research firm is getting lot of attention for saying that Google’s Android is reaching its peak in the worldwide smartphone market this year, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone is destined to take the No. 2 position in the market by 2016, just barely edging out Apple’s iOS four years from now, with 19.2% vs. 19%.

People seem to have forgotten that IDC has actually made that prediction before, the one about Windows Phone taking the No. 2 position in the market. Except in the past forecast, the firm predicted that Microsoft would reach that point a year earlier, by 2015, and by a much healthier margin over iOS, 20.3% to 16.9%.

In other words, the firm has reduced its expectations for Windows Phone, and expects the horse race to be much closer over time.

Of course, these types of forecasts are a real crap shoot, as we saw with iSuppli’s forecast in 2009 that Windows Mobile would be No. 2 in the market in 2012, behind Symbian. So take these types of long-term forecasts with a huge grain of salt. Who knows, someone completely different could come out of the blue to rule the world.

The interesting part is that IDC is clearly seeing things in Windows Phone’s performance now that are causing the projection to be scaled back already.

IDC says in its news release that Windows Phone “will gain share despite a slow start,” and “will be aided by Nokia’s strength in key emerging markets,” taking the No. 2 spot by 2016 “assuming Nokia’s foothold in emerging markets is maintained.”

Here is a chart showing IDC’s latest forecast, with the previous (now outdated) forecast below that.

Previously on GeekWire: Microsoft’s Windows Phone sees slight boost after Lumia 900 release

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  • Guest

    Best guess from the sidelines?

    Android will be higher, once a converged Motorola/Google offering is released (lots of free Android devices)

    Windows 7 will be higher, once Nokia gets in full gear.

    RIM will vanish and/or be absorbed into some other category.

    iOS will drop into the 10-15% range, consistent with most Apple product marketshare.

    Something not even on the chart will emerge to re-fracture the ecosystem and challenge everyone’s position.

    • Guest

      “Something not even on the chart will emerge to re-fracture the ecosystem and challenge everyone’s position.”

      Hard to see anything new entering given the need for (and challenge associated with creating) an ecosystem, not just an OS. But based on numbers, whatever that is would have to emerge in one or all of the BRIC countries, most likely China.

  • Guest

    “The interesting part is that IDC is clearly seeing things in Windows Phone’s performance now that are causing the projection to be scaled back already.”

    I have the opposite reaction. It says to me they obviously see something that most of us don’t, because right now WP becoming the #2 OS seems more than unlikely.

  • Arcana112

    The past report had forecasts for 2015 (only) and said that MS will be second in 2015.

    This report has forecasts for 2016 (only) and says that MS will be second in 2016. 

    So there is actually no forecast trimming. Just bad journalism from geekwire.

    • Guest

      Learn how to do math, chump. Year over year downward forecast adjustment of 1%.

    • http://twitter.com/topscientist Top Scientist

      A year later and by a narrower margin is trimming, half-wit.

  • Guest

    Wow! It’ll be great to see Windows Phone continue to grow and innovate while Apple transitions from a hardware company to a charity.

  • Guest

    These forecasts are comedy gold. There is Zero chance WP will be anywhere lose to this, they’ll be struggling to get out of single digits. Nor will they be anywhere close to 5% for 2012.

  • GeekWire Fan

    Windows Phone is currently selling at a slower pace than iPhone and Android phones. Until Windows Phones sells more monthly than iPhones, there is really no validity to a prediction that it will pass iOS in smartphone marketshare. 

  • Victor

    Are these reports sponsored by Microsoft? I know in some industries, analyst reports are essentially “paid” by manufacturers, in a lot of cases with soft dollars. Often enough, these kind of reports are penned by junior analysts with little or no reputation to lose. 

    • Guest

      I checked and the report is not sponsored by Microsoft or by any other company. Do you have any proof that it is?

      • Victor

        The reason I raise this question is simple, IDC has a long history of bias in favor of Microsoft. Microsoft has sponsored several of their past reports in areas such as TCO of Linux vs. Windows and so on.

        This isn’t really surprising simply because IDC’s parent company IDG happens to run a lot of tradeshows and Expos where Microsoft is often the largest participant. So when a report like this that seems to be so out of whack to reality, one has to wonder. 

        • Minustwentylives

          The reason you raise the question is because you don’t like their finding. Period. Full stop.

          • http://twitter.com/topscientist Top Scientist

            Actually, you sad little half-wit. it’s because the “findings” (lol) are absurd. You’re an imbecile. Full stop.

        • Guest

          Based on your off-topic* response, I see that you have no proof that this report* is sponsored by Microsoft. Thank you for clarifying.

          * The topic we’re discussing, which you can see at the top of your browser window, is “IDC trims Windows Phone forecast, now sees Microsoft as #2 by 2016.”

          • Victor

            It is not off topic. I believe it is absolutely fair to question this kind of “research”. I used to work on Wall Street where conflicts of interests was and still is common place, there is more disclosure after the dotcom collapse. 

            Seattle is a Microsoft town, so I am sure plenty of people are sensitive and/or defensive when it comes to Microsoft, but this doesn’t mean there is no conflict on IDC/IDG’s part. It is simply that no one has called them on it yet. 

            The only reason I question this kind of bogus research is that I have seen plenty of garbage like this in my own little sub sector of technology industry. If you pay into the likes of IDC, Frost & Sullivan and so on, you would get positive research reports and “awards”. 

  • Ry

    Why should we listen to IDG? Anyone can look up what they predicted in 2009, 2010, 2011 ?
    Man, my cat could guess better now that we have fasit.
    Wishful thinking by IDG ? Or paid advertising :-)

    • Guest

      Nobody said you should. It’s a data point, nothing more.

      • http://twitter.com/topscientist Top Scientist

        Actually, half-wit, it’s not even that. It’s not data. It’s a hot air point. Data point involve actual data.

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