Windows Phone’s worldwide market share will rise over the next five years, but only slightly, market research firm IDC says in a new forecast this morning.
The report shows Microsoft’s mobile operating system climbing to 5.4 percent market share in 2019, on 103.5 million unit shipments, up from 3.2 percent market share on 46.8 million shipments for the current year, according to the new IDC report on global smartphone growth trends.
The prediction underscores the challenge Microsoft continues to face in smartphones, despite its $7 billion acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business more than a year ago. The company is betting big on the upcoming launch of Windows 10, featuring universal apps that will span many different screens. In the meantime Microsoft is also hedging its bet by increasingly releasing apps for competing platforms. Just this morning, the company announced that its Cortana virtual assistant will be released for Android and iOS.
IDC’s report also predicts a slowdown in growth for Android and iOS through 2019, with market share predicted to fall slightly for both.
Of course, predictions need to be taken with a large grain of salt. IDC in 2011 predicted that Windows Phone would surpass the iPhone in market share by this year. You can see from the chart above how that turned out. (Thanks to Sasha Aickin for refreshing our memory on that.)
In the short term, IDC said overall smartphone shipments are slowing this year. IDC predicts 11.3 percent growth in the smartphone market this year, down from 27.6 percent last year. That’s partially due to Android’s relatively slow projected growth of 8.5 percent, and expectations of just 2.5 percent growth in shipments to China. That would be first time that China has grown slower than the global average.
Android may also be losing market share to Apple, which is now offering devices with larger screens, including the iPhone 6+. IDC forecasts 23 percent growth this year for the iPhone maker.
“IDC believes a sizable portion of the Android installed base were those who migrated over to the platform from iOS with the desire for a larger screen smartphone. This is an opportunity Apple is no question focusing on. However, the price difference between Android/iOS devices in many markets will remain a significant hurdle for Apple,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
However, Android is expected to hold onto more of its market share through 2019 as it innovates in the low-cost market, slipping just 0.4 percentage points compared to iOS losing 2.2 percentage points over the same time frame.