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Windows Phone turns a corner as Android “peaks” in OS battle

30 марта 2012

Windows Phone 7 has failed so far to challenge the Android-iOS duopoly at the top of the operating system marketplace.

Operators are keen to see another player enter the space to increase competition and reduce their dependence on the two main players.

Following big announcements at Mobile World Congress – where CEO Stephen Elop promised to “change the clock speed” of Nokia – new figures suggest that things are changing.

According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, phones with WP7 now outnumber those of Symbian in the UK and are catching up elsewhere in Europe’s largest markets.

WP7 now has 2.5 percent of the UK market – up two percent on the same 12-week period last year.

It grew 1.4 percent in Germany, one percent in Italy and 0.9 percent in France.

Kantar’s global consumer insight director, Dominic Sunnebo, told European Communications that despite coming late to the market, a corner seems to have been turned.

“There are strong signs that WP7 Nokia handsets are starting to make an impact on the European smartphone market,” he said.

Although admitting that the dent they are making in the market isn’t big at the moment, Fred Huet, managing director of Greenwich Consulting, agrees.

“WP7 is starting to get traction, and it is likely that we will see it emerge as the third OS soon,” he commented.

According to Sunnebo, WP7 won’t be taken seriously until it attains double-digit market share.

He said it is “currently behind the curve” on his prediction that it would reach between 8-10 percent market share by the end of 2012, but remains confident they will get there.

To do so, Microsoft and Nokia have much work to do.

Android remains the dominant OS across Europe according to Kantar data: it holds leading positions in the UK (market share of 48.5 percent), Germany (59 percent), France (45 percent), Italy (51 percent) and Spain (68 percent).

However, Sunnebo says the data suggest that Android has peaked.

“All the device manufacturers are producing Android handsets in large numbers already so it is difficult to see where else they can go,” he added.

Although it is the number two OS in most European markets, Apple’s iOS is not without problems either.

Sales fell 7.4 percent in Germany and 3.9 percent in Spain, according to Kantar.

However, WP7 will be more likely to benefit from declines at Symbian – which Sunnebo said will be practically non-existent this time next year –and RiM, which both registered falls across Europe.

In addition to devices, the success of its apps strategy is key to getting increased market share.

Earlier this week Microsoft and Nokia announced they will invest €18 million into a newly established mobile application development programme in Finland.

However, this is a long-term project and with only around 60,000 apps currently on the Windows platform they are well behind the two market leaders.

Earlier this month, Apple announced that more than 25 billion apps have been downloaded from its App Store since it launched four years ago.

There is some good news; a survey released last week by mobile platform company Appcelerator and analyst firm IDC found that developers regard WP7 as the third most important operating system behind iOS and Android.

Further, Sunnebo pointed out that Windows only supports paid-for apps, which is much more attractive to developers looking to make a return.

Ultimately, the success of WP7 would benefit the wider ecosystem.

Commented Huet: “It isn’t healthy for two operating systems to dominate the market.”

Operators could play a role; Sunnebo said he expected deals such as the one struck in the US between Nokia and AT&T to increase in number.

This year is absolutely vital for WP7 if it is to proper and early indications suggest it is on the right track.


Источник: European Communications

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