Cringely: Apple iPhone will have 85% market share by 2011; Windows Mobile will be dead

“As personal computers fade from what Al Mandel called ‘ubiquity to invisibility,’ something has to take over. And everyone I respect thinks the new dominant platform will be mobile. So it’s my job to tell you, then, that Windows Mobile is probably doomed,” Robert X. Cringely writes for PBS. “Interestingly, this conclusion isn’t based on any personal preference or subjective analysis… It’s a simple matter of market economics.”

“There is generally room in any technology marketplace for three competing standards. Notice I say ‘standards,’ not ‘brands.’ …And among those three standards there tends to be a market-share distribution that is more or less 85-10-5,” Cringely writes.

“This is not a time to bet against the iPhone, which is changing the entire landscape of not just smartphones but mobile phones in general. For all its teething problems, there is a new sheriff in town and his name is iPhone. We’ll see nothing but progress and market-share gains there for at least another two product cycles or three years,” Cringely writes. “RIM is another story altogether… RIM is facing a huge challenge. I’m not saying they won’t meet that challenge, I simply don’t know.”

“If I had to bet right this moment on the mobile 85-10-5 of 2011, I’d say iPhone, Android, then RIM, Symbian, or something completely new from behind Door Number Three,” Cringely writes. “And where will Windows Mobile be in 2011? There way things are headed now, given that Microsoft can’t really afford to be anything but first or second on the platform that supplants Windows, I’d say Windows Mobile will be dead.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “scopie” for the heads up.]


  1. Windows Mobile is already like #3 or #4 in the smartphone OS space. And to the displeasure of Ballmer all of their WinMobile OEMs are or soon will be part of the Android movement. HTC Microsoft’s largest Windows Mobile (WinBile) OEMs is having their first big hit in the smart phone space with an Android Phone.. MS should be getting ready for the Dear Ballme, letter from HTC, telling MS that they’ll be Borging all of their smart phones with Android from now on. Good News if you’re a HTC investors as soon they’ll dump the MS parasite (WinBile) off their profits.

  2. You know that Apple patent where the laptop slides into the side of the display?

    What if you just slid in an iPhone instead?? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool smirk” style=”border:0;” />

  3. “Hasn’t Apple already blown by Windows mobile in market share?”


    “Didn’t Apple just sell more phones than RIM?”

    Yes, this quarter.

    “Windows mobile seems pretty irrelevant now,”

    Except in the rest of the world, were Windows Mobile phones outsell iPhones by a wide margin. When numbers are all totalled up, Windows Mobile is still outselling the iPhone two to one. At least that’s better than the PC market where on a whole world basis Microsoft is still outselling Apple thirty to one.

  4. Bob is an idiot. Forever a side show in the world of technology, he makes predictions like some circus clown and he’s never right. The worst thing you can want to happen is for Bob to predict something good for you. He’s as off the wall as any of the pro Windows morons MDN points out regularly.

  5. Well…

    Interesting thoughts, but I don’t think so… There are too many people who are stuck on windows for no other reason than they are comfortable with it, know how to tweak it, have perfected the art of reformatting after a virus or malware infection…

    What I would believe and support is a statement that said that three years form now that 50% of cellphones on the market are iPhones and the other 50% is made up by everyone else…

    Microsoft has a bigger war chest than RIM. Personally RIM sucks worse then windows mobile, because there is nothing familiar about RIM. I have a blackberry, forced on me by corporate IT, I hate it, still trying to make the thing useful after 6 months….

  6. @ Not So Fast …

    “Hasn’t Apple already blown by Windows Mobile in market share?”


    Windows Mobile was sinking in market share before the debut of the iPhone though, and is on a fast downward trend with no new version in sight for two years.

    The iPhone also *has* “blown by Windows Mobile in North American smart-phone share already. So in a sense the original poster was right.

    Windows Mobile gets a big bump from it’s non smart-phone utility, and iPhones sales are distorted by the fact that they only recently went international. If you consider only smart-phones, and what people choose and are choosing for a smartphone, Windows Mobile has already lost and has no plans for the foreseeable future.

  7. but but but….

    “Apple’s iPhone is no threat to ‘great, exciting’ Windows Mobile phones” says MS exec.

    microsoft is under attack on way too many fronts for all the talk of war chests plans to matter. you can’t fight the entire world, and MS has made enemies of everyone. first the phone system will fall. then the game system, then office, and finally windows. it has already begun.

    oh, and theloniousMac, as a sideshow on mac news sites, i expect you know a tech side show when you see it. the regulars all know you are a troll. go away.

  8. @notsofast, you wrote, “Except in the rest of the world, were Windows Mobile phones outsell iPhones by a wide margin. When numbers are all totalled up, Windows Mobile is still outselling the iPhone two to one.”

    So, in 15 months, the iPhone is selling close to half WinMo? That sounds outstanding, but are you sure?

    MS shipped 18M WinMo licenses last year. In the WHOLE YEAR. Apple just sold 6.9M iPhones in the last quarter. Since Apple sold over 10M iPhones in the first 9+ months of this year, even with the phasing out of the EDGE iPhone, it’s pretty clear that the iPhone sold more than half of WinMo.

    Let’s look at revenue:
    WinMo license, $15 x 18M = $270M in a year
    iPhones, $660 x 6.9M = $4.6B in a quarter

    Which business would you rather have? The WinMo licensing business or the iPhone business? Oh, about margins, the gross margin on iPhones is 46.7%.

    I’m surprised that no analyst has picked that up so far, but using Apple’s non-GAAP figures, you can calculate the GM on the iPhone.

  9. So you’re disputing the simple answer that the iPhone has not yet surpassed Windows Mobile?

    iPhone is doing well as a launch of a new phone OS. But I doubt they’ll sell another 7m this quarter as there was a lot of pent up demand both in the US and worldwide waiting for the launch of the 3G. You only have to look at the very low Q1 sales to see that.

    If all you looked at was the number of press stories on each OS, or the buzz around each OS, you’d think the iPhone was outselling Windows Mobile ten to one. But that’s not actually the case. Windows Mobile is still doing pretty well compared to the competition.

  10. Anyone thinking of switching to AT&T;just for an iPhone 3G should think twice. I have one and I must say that when it works, it’s hands-down the best phone I’ve ever owned. That’s the main reason I couldn’t give it up. However, if you need this as your business phone, you should think twice about AT&T;’s coverage. I’m getting continual dropped calls… even after upgrading the software to the latest version. I have about 10% of my calls dropped EVERY DAY. It doesn’t matter where I am. I can be in the middle of a major metropolitan area with a great signal… or in a not so populated area. I’m optimistic that it will work someday… but that someday is not now.

  11. i have it on good reliability that MS is in a big scramble to reorganize their Win Mobile division. They recognize that their market share is slipping and at risk of big declines. They fired their previous project manager and imported another who basically is rebuilding their team. That’s like trying to fix an airplane already in flight. Bummer for them.

  12. MicroSucks Windoze still retains 85% of the pc marketplace with their crapware. Fact.
    Why wouldn’t Apple gain 85% of the mobile space with the iPhone’s fast evolving magicware?
    Especially when the competition will have to reinvent itself from the ground up to even stand a chance of competing. That is a decade long challenge for the second stringers, MicroSucks included.

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