IDC: Windows Phone to surpass Apple’s iOS by 2015

The worldwide smartphone market is forecast to grow 55% year over year in 2011 as a growing number of users turn in their feature phones for more advanced devices. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship a total of 472 million smartphones in 2011 compared to roughly 305 million units shipped in 2010. That figure will nearly double to 982 million by the end of 2015.

The fast-growing smartphone market, which will grow more than four times the rate of the overall mobile phone market this year, is being fuelled by falling average selling prices, increased phone functionality, and lower-cost data plans among other factors, which make the devices more accessible to a wider range of users.

“The smartphone floodgates are open wide,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in the press release. “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. The growth trend is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where adoption is still in its early days. As a result, the growth in regions such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America, will be dramatic over the coming years.”

Smartphone Operating Systems

“Underpinning smartphone growth is the rapidly shifting operating system landscape,” added Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team, in the press release. “End-users are becoming more sophisticated about what kinds of experiences are offered by the different operating systems. Taking this as their cue, operating system developers will strive for more intuitive and seamless experiences, but will also look to differentiate themselves along key features and characteristics.”

IDC expects Android, which passed Symbian as the leading operating system worldwide in Q4 2010, to grow to more than 40% of the market in the second half of 2011. A significant and growing list of vendors who have made Android the cornerstone of their respective smartphone strategies is propelling the growth of Android.

Symbian will steadily lose share throughout the forecast period as its biggest supporter Nokia transitions its smartphone strategy to Windows Phone. This will present a huge opportunity for competing operating systems to gain footing. Still, Nokia’s commitment to support Symbian devices until 2016 will keep the installed base of Symbian-powered smartphone users on par with its competitors.

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.

iOS was the third ranked OS going into 2011 and will remain a force in the mobile phone market throughout the forecast. After an initial explosive growth period, iOS is expected to grow at a more modest pace throughout the latter half of the forecast as the smartphone market matures and diversifies. Although a small market share decline is expected, IDC expects significant overall shipment volume growth through the end of 2015.

BlackBerry OS is expected to maintain its position as a Top 4 smartphone operating system over the forecast period. Like iOS, the BlackBerry OS will experience market share decline even as shipment volumes grow throughout our forecast.

Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2011 and 2015 Market Share and 2011-2015 Compound Annual Growth Rate
Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2011 and 2015 Market Share and 2011-2015 Compound Annual Growth Rate
Note: Market share based on unit shipments.

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

MacDailyNews Take: The press release states that IDC is located in Framingham, Massachusetts, which means that, wow, the weekend starts really early at IDC!

You’d better believe that this one’s been iCal’ed for future use.


  1. Well, considering that WinPhone will probably be on multi-carriers a la Android, and iOS is still only available on 2, that could have an impact; if Apple goes beyond ATT/Verizon, all bets are off.

    1. Nokia has limited presence in the US market. The will have to become one of the top brands in the US for WinPho7 to pass iOS. Never say never, but I doubt all the carriers will pick up enough Nokia phones to make this happen.

    2. Sorry about the accidental post.

      1. Telcos don’t care
      2. Mobile OEMs don’t care
      3. PC OEMs don’t care
      4. Even IT don’t care
      5. Consumers definitely don’t care

      1. Plus, it’s very likely the carriers are punishing Windows Phone ’07 thanks to Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype:

        The article writer doesn’t mention Skype, or intuit the cause-and-effect taking place, but we all know how much the carriers see Skype as a threat. I’m guessing Microsoft didn’t fully think thru the negative ramifications a Skype purchase would have on Windows Phone sales.

  2. MS has been failing on virtually all fronts, including phones, tablets, big ass table, etc. Now Windows 8 looks like WinPhone (gee, wonder where they got that idea from?) The industry is already bearish on MS for their future, so where IDC is gathering their data from is anyone’s guess (thin air, perhaps).

    The funny thing is that even in the enterprise, something I am exposed to daily, I know of no one that has a Windows Phone. There are a lot of Android phones, but I still see more iPhones. Less and less Blackberries, and almost no Symbian. IDC’s conclusions are a joke – I just don’t see it.

    1. ‘… so where IDC is gathering their data from is anyone’s guess…?’
      Well since they are asserting that ALL of Symbian’s users(99.9%) will migrate to WP7, I think we can assume this is direct from the MS marketing’s butt-end.

  3. Why does anyone take IDC seriously? Why are their wild guesses deemed worth printing, while those of my dog, although just as accurate, aren’t?

    “as the smartphone market matures and diversifies”

    Huh?! The smartphone market had *years* to mature and diversify before the iPhone came along.

    1. Because of their name. They charge a lot of money for their reports and if you say IDC said so, most people can’t challenge you on it. If you said MDN said so, they say what the hell is MDN. I worked at a company that paid a LOT of money for IDC reports.

  4. Strange figures indeed! Especially when I think Rimm will be in Chapter 11 by December and MS will be on their knees by 2016.
    This is surely the work of science fiction authors.

  5. IDC runs windows right?
    Cause it looks like this was to be published on April 1st, but the windows boxes had a slight date error… and it got posted today.

    I like how they say iOS and BB decline.. Android goes up… (ever heard of lawsuits IDC..) and Windows phones (that can’t be given away) will gain market share.

    and isn’t the 2011 market share they report wrong anyway?

    I was in the mall yesterday, taking the escalator past the big AT&T store. 2 people at the Apple display, a few people looking at the accessories display… and the HUGE windows phone display… tucked in a corner all alone with nobody within 15 feet of it.

    I still haven’t seen a windows phone in the wild… it’s one of those mythical creatures. people tell me they exist, i just haven’t seen one.

    1. I have seen exactly one Windows Phone 7 in the wild. It’s owned by my brother-in-law who works for Microsoft in the WinMo marketing department. He even had to stick as big ass Windows Phone 7 sticker on the back of it so anyone would even know it was a WP7 phone.

  6. Apple having one phone is cause huge pain and suffering in the market. Just imagine if Apple chose to release three models with various price points. No one is considering this in there forecast? Very look at my feet as I predict the future myopia.

    I personally think the others will have slowed growth as they scramble to put together a system as simple that Steve Jobs just announced at WWDC. Just iCloud as a convience is a huge selling point and should nof be overlooked.

    Then again, just because you can produce a product does not mean it provides the same level of customer satisfaction. Apple experience in this area is unmatched in the tech field. I will stick with Apple on solid growth.

    1. I’d like to point out that convenience is way way down the check list of walmart shoppers. There’s no quality hurdle either, its price, price, price compared to feature list. It can be the damn hardest thing in the world to master, but if it’s $1 cheaper, hide the cheeseburgers, because the walmart crowd will be lining up.

      Some of the points above are accurate, another key factor is the Oracle Google litigation that could force Google to begin charging licensing fees for Android (or be forced to share ad revenue with Oracle). In that case, it will be very hard for Androids to compete on features and price with Apple, especially as Apple develops it’s own proprietary chips that will also blow away the intel dependent phone mfgs.

  7. Stupidest thing I ever heard of. What good is ANY kind of prediction that’s more than 2 years away? The market and the products on it are constantly changing in significant ways.

    1. This is what I always say about weather forecasts trying to predict more than 2 or 3 days into the future. After a certain point, it’s little more than dart-throwing and wild guesses.

  8. in March IDC said iOS would be 15.3, now they’ve changed it to 16.9 (after being shocked by ACTUAL iPhone sales announced in the quarter)

    so if they can change by about 2% in a few months… what’s 2015 actualy going to be?

    1. And the Windows share of the smartphone market is actually FALLING currently. I recently saw a chart showing smartphone ownership by platform from January to April 2011. Windows (all versions) went from 8% in January to 6.7% in April.

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