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Microsoft's Mobile Share To Hover at 3 Percent in 2015

Microsoft's smartphone platform is expected to increase its market share by just half a percentage point in 2015, according to the latest data from market research firm IDC.

Windows Phone is projected to end the year with a market share of 3.2 percent, IDC said on Tuesday. That's up only slightly from the 2.7 percent market share the platform captured in 2014. IDC expects Windows Phone to ship on a total of 46.8 million devices in 2015, a 34.1 percent increase from 2014.

As has been the case for the past two years, Windows Phone is expected to remain a distant third-place finisher behind perennial market leaders Google Android and Apple iOS. IDC projects Android to end 2015 with 79.4 percent of the market, shipping on 1.15 billion units (an 8.5 percent increase from 2014). iOS is projected to have 16.4 percent of the market in 2015, shipping on 237 million units (an increase of 23 percent from 2014).

Overall, the worldwide smartphone market is forecast to grow by 11.3 percent in 2015. This represents a marked drop from 2014's growth rate of 27.6 percent.

[Click on image for larger view.] Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, May 26, 2015 (* denotes forecast data).

IDC notes that the maturity of the worldwide smartphone market will lead to a slowdown in some unexpected areas. Smartphone growth in China, long considered to be the market with the most growth potential for smartphones, will be outpaced by the overall market for the first time in 2015, according to IDC. Android shipments are also expected to be slower than the worldwide market.

"[T]he largest market in the world has reached a level of maturity where rapid growth will be harder to achieve," said IDC Program Director Ryan Reith in a statement. "This has implications for Android because China has been a critical market for Android smartphone shipments in recent years, accounting for 36% of total volume in 2014. As Chinese OEMs shift their focus from the domestic market to the next high-growth markets, they will face a number of challenges, including competition from 'local' brands."

IDC included its five-year projections in its report Tuesday. By 2019, the firm expects Android to have 79 percent market share, iOS to have 14.2 percent, and Windows Phone to have 5.4 percent.

The company did not comment on how the upcoming launch of Windows 10 will affect Microsoft's smartphone standings. Windows 10 will have two mobile editions -- Windows 10 Mobile for consumer users and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for business users. The consumer-focused Windows 10 Mobile will be a free upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 users.

Windows 10 for desktop PCs and larger tablets is expected to ship sometime this summer -- as early as July, according to some reports -- but the mobile SKUs will ship after that summer timeframe.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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