Gartner: Microsoft Windows Phone market share to surpass Apple’s iOS in 2015

Worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, a 57.7 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner Inc. By the end of 2011, Android will move to become the most popular operating system (OS) worldwide and will build on its strength to account for 49 percent of the smartphone market by 2012 (see Table 1).

Sales of open OS devices will account for 26 percent of all mobile handset device sales in 2011, and are expected to surpass the 1 billion mark by 2015, when they will account for 47 percent of the total mobile device market. (An open OS makes a software developer kit (SDK) available to developers, who can use native application programming interfaces (APIs) to write applications. The OS can be supported by a sole vendor or multiple vendors. It can be, but does not have to be, open source. Examples are BlackBerry OS, iOS, Symbian, Android, Windows Phone, Linux, Limo Foundation, WebOS and bada.)

“By 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, in the press release.

“As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers”, Ms. Cozza said. “Android’s position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets.”

Table 1
Worldwide Mobile Communications Device Open OS Sales to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)

Gartner Worldwide Mobile Communications Device Open OS Sales to End Users by OS
Source: Gartner (April 2011)

Gartner predicts that Apple’s iOS will remain the second biggest platform worldwide through 2014 despite its share deceasing slightly after 2011. This reflects Gartner’s underlying assumption that Apple will be interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy. This will continue to limit adoption in emerging regions. iOS share will peak in 2011, with volume growth well above the market average. This is driven by increased channel reach in key mature markets like the U.S. and Western Europe.

Research In Motion’s share over the forecast period will decline, reflecting the stronger competitive environment in the consumer market, as well as increased competition in the business sector. Gartner has factored in RIM’s migration from BlackBerry OS to QNX which is expected in 2012. Analysts said this transition makes sense because RIM can create a consistent experience going from smartphones to tablets with a single developer community and — given that QNX as a platform brings more advanced features than the classic BlackBerry OS — it can enable more competitive smartphone products.

Gartner predicts that Nokia will push Windows Phone well into the mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of 2012, driving the platform to be the third largest in the worldwide ranking by 2013. Gartner has revised its forecast of Windows Phone’s market share upward, solely by virtue of Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia. Although this is an honorable performance it is considerably less than what Symbian had achieve in the past underlying the upward battle that Nokia has to face.

Gartner analysts said new device types will widen ecosystems. “The growth in sales of media tablets expected in 2011 and future years will widen the ecosystems that open OS communications devices have created. This will, by and large, function more as a driver than an inhibitor for sales of open OS devices,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

“Consumers who already own an open OS communications device will be drawn to media tablets and more often than not, to media tablets that share the same OS as their smartphone,” Ms. Milanesi said. “This allows consumers to be able to share the same experience across devices as well as apps, settings or game scores. At the same time, tablet users who don’t own a smartphone could be prompted to adopt one to be able to share the experience they have on their tablets.”

Gartner’s detailed forecast is available in the report “Forecast: Mobile Communications Devices by Open Operating System, Worldwide, 2008-2015.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at

Source: Gartner, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: iCal’ed. We will certainly revisit these (and IDC’s) numbers annually, if not more often.

Related article:
IDC: By 2015, both Android and Windows Phone will beat Apple’s iOS in smartphone market share – March 29, 2011


  1. The usual rubbish.

    Once you see the false precision in the numbers, with guesstimates right down to the thousands, you know they don’t know statistics. Haven’t they ever heard of significant figures?

    1. “Last prediction wasn’t very accurate

      Just a year and a half ago, the same firm made similar bold predictions about the smartphone industry that suggested the same dramatic turn around for Microsoft. In fact, the only real similarity between the company’s 2009 predictions and its 2011 predictions is the idea that Microsoft would be selling about 68 million phones by 2012, and taking around 12 percent of the smartphone industry.

      Every other predicted element in Garner’s outlook has changed significantly in the last year and a half. Nokia’s Symbian,….”

      Since they charge people for these reports, you would think that there needs to be some accuracy or at least thought in them. Guess not.

      Just a thought, and more than Gartner puts in their articles.
      🙂 en

  2. Amazing how many assumptions are made to arrive at their data, particularly ASSuming that someone with an Android phone will want an Android tablet.

    1. Why not? I’ve got an Android phone and have just bought an Android tablet. That was a natural choice. I can use apps I have already bought on the new device. I am very happy with this setup.

  3. MDN missed the other huge stories buried in this headline:
    – Ballmer steps down.
    – Consumers given choice, choose Microsoft
    Both would have to be true to meet these projections. ;0)

  4. Wow. On what basis do they think Windows Phone is going to sell even at a 5% clip? Because Nokia is going to use the OS? Just because you build and ship a lot of phones to retailers doesn’t mean consumers will buy them.

    Consumers like apps. That’s a fact, and Windows Phone doesn’t have any. Android is a mess and will only continue being a mess of inconsistencies. The idea that Blackberry is only going to fall a few percentage points is laughable; they’re on the way out unless a miracle OS drops into their lap.

    The one thing they are right about is that Apple won’t slash prices just to sell more units in the low-end phone range. They’ll still have the older version of the iPhone for $49 or $99, but don’t count on an iPhone nano or $20 iPhones. Apple would rather have fewer sales and actually make money, and have customers who buy other Apple products and apps from the App Store.

    The same isn’t true of Android phone manufacturers or Nokia.

    1. Gartner is paid to produce their report. They can’t say everything. Such prediction is always inaccurate but who will remember this prediction in 2015. Most teenagers and emerging countries’s users currently don’t like to pay for applications. Android offer them more for less. Why will they purchase Iphone while Android offer them application for free. Moreover the same application on Iphone usually cost more than on Android phone since developers undertstand the user’s of Android Phone. I personnaly will buy an Android mobil phone and also an Android tablet. This is not only true for Apple users and I believe that Gartner assumption about consummer’s ( Android, Iphone or Wx) behavior is plausible

        1. … included a hint as to what he is clueless about: that ZT is anything but a Colbert-style comic. Dude … ya gotta understand: ZT makes the most outrageous statements with tongue firmly in cheek.
          There are many reasons why the article just MIGHT be “slanted” … one being that Gartner is a long-term “employee” of Microsoft. That’s right people – including MSFT – actually PAY them to produce their “reports”. 😉

        2. Clueless? You give yourself way too much credit to be able to throw that around. Hughie, when you emerge from your Mommy’s basement may I suggest you pull your head out of your ass and realize what a little, pathetic creature you are. Maybe then you will see that your ability to brand others as “clueless” is about absurd as your IQ is low.

      1. @DDT:

        Zune Tang is MDN’s paper villain. He is an intentional parody of a typical PC zealot. He has been created to amuse us, both by reading his ridiculous “Baghdad Bob” style platform demagoguery, and by drawing out MDN newbies who take him seriously. Now that you’re in on the joke, may I be the first to say “Welcome to the social.”

        1. A parody?

          Hmmm.. that makes a whole lot more sense.

          Guess I’ve been had. There are so many parodies out there in the PC forums- can’t tell them from the jokes. Toxic, too- like this “study.”

        2. I like his style of getting responses. He’s having some fun is all I’ve noticed. I’ve never noticed anything hateful. I do the same thing on a lot of the Apple stock forums and it gets them hot, hot, hot. In Korea, they call it pulling the sleeping lion’s whiskers which I find rather amusing (in theory).

  5. Once again I ask what kind of drugs are these people on. I only say this because you have been on drugs on have your lips that close Steve Ballmers ass. It Ballmer was to sudden stop their be a terrible accident.
    Seriously how do these people come with these number and the more important question who is naive enough to buy this crap. I have yet to see a Window OS phone from any one that I know and I know a lot of people. The only way they will be # 1 by 2015 is if they give a free Window OS phone with every Windows PC sold and still that might not happen. This has to be late April fools Joke.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.