Research giant IDC expects Microsoft’s phone software to leap ahead by 2015, assuming its hookup with Nokia goes smoothly.
The firm is predicting that Windows Phone will overtake Apple’s iPhone by then, claiming the second largest market share behind Google’s Android.
It’s part of the company’s quarterly Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, which is forecasting 55 percent growth overall in the market this year, driven by people upgrading to more advanced phones.
IDC expects 472 million smartphones to ship this year, up from about 305 million last year. It expects nearly a billion phones — 985 million — to be sold in 2015.
“The smartphone floodgates are open wide,” Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst, said in the release. “Mobile phone users around the world are turning in their ‘talk-and-text’ devices for smartphones as these devices allow users to perform daily tasks like shopping and banking from anywhere. The growth trend is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where adoption is still in its early days.”
Android will grow to 40 percent of the market in the second half of this year, IDC predicts. Apple’s iOS “will remain a force in the mobile phone market” through 2015 but its growth is “expected to grow at a more modest pace through the latter half of the forecast as the smartphone market matures and diversifies.”
The BlackBerry OS will remain in the top four but see market share decline, despite the overall increase in smartphone sales.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform “will benefit from Nokia’s support, scope and breadth within markets where Nokia has historicaly had a strong presence,” the firm said in its release. But until Nokia Windows phones appear in large volumes next year, the platform will capture only a small portion of the market.