Windows Phone sales will remain soft and in last place among the smartphone software competitors this year, IDC said, which estimated Microsoft had 4 percent of the pie.
IDC believed that the Microsoft-Nokia partnership, if it goes smoothly, could propel Windows Phone into a second place player behind Android in 2015. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Nokia’s chief technology officer was going on leave.
The rest of IDC’s rankings for 2011 are: Nokia’s Symbian software with 21 percent; Apple’s iOS (that runs iPhone) at 18 percent; Research in Motion’s Blackberry with 14 percent. Palm Pre’s WebOS, owned by Hewlett Packard, was not broken out.
“The smartphone floodgates are open wide,” said Kevin Restivo, IDC’s senior research analyst. “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.”
Restivo said there is significant opportunity for growth in emerging markets, especially Asia and Latin America as people upgrade from basic mobile phones to smartphones.
This is what the report said about Microsoft’s prospects:
“Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will benefit from Nokia’s support, scope, and breadth within markets where Nokia has historically had a strong presence. Until Nokia begins introducing Windows Phone-powered smartphones in large volumes in 2012, Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will only capture a small share of the market as the release of Mango-powered smartphones are not expected to reach the market until late 2011. Nevertheless, assuming that Nokia’s transition to Windows Phone goes smoothly, the OS is expected to defend a number 2 rank and more than 20% share in 2015.”
Here is a chart that shows IDC’s estimates for market share of smartphone operating systems in 2011 and 2015.
(Photo of T-Mobile smartphone running Android software: T-Mobile)