IDC released its latest Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report today, including predictions for which mobile operating systems will be gaining market share in the next few years and which will be losing it.
This market analysis firm made a safe prediction that Google’s Android OS will rise to be the dominant smartphone platform by 2015, but the rest of its other figures are far more controversial.
In the wake of Nokia’s abandonment of the Symbian OS, there’s no doubt there are going to be some changes. Although this operating system is rarely used by Americans, it is the preeminent OS in Europe and other regions — to the point that it has been the best-selling mobile platform for many years. And Nokia has been the biggest maker of devices running it.
But last month, Nokia announced that it is going to make a big gamble: all its future high-end models are going to run Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
IDC’s analysts believe this gamble is going to pay off, and Windows Phone will become the second most popular mobile OS in the next few years. These analysts clearly expect most of Nokia’s current customers to stick with it, even through a transition to an operating system made by Microsoft.
This will supposedly swell the ranks of Windows Phone users to the point where they will outnumber iPhone users and BlackBerry users by 2015.
To me, this seems a bit optimistic. I tend to think that a great many long-time Symbian users who are being forced to learn a new operating system will switch to the Android OS or Apple’s iOS.
And the IDC seems overly pessimistic about the iPhone, predicting that its sales will flatline at the current level. With millions of new Verizon customers coming on board, as well as people switching from the Symbian OS and BlackBerry OS, I find this hard to believe. I see strong growth for Apple, with it beating out Windows Phone for the number two spot in 2015.
IDC expects the BlackBerry OS to decline slightly, but I see a more severe drop off. RIM is losing the battle for developers, and despite the millions of current BlackBerry users there are comparatively few apps for this platform. That’s going to cause most consumers to switch to a rival like Android or iOS in the coming years, although many business will stick with RIM.
Generally speaking, IDC is one of the two market research companies I trust the most. But I just can’t agree with most of the conclusions in this most recent report.
You can see IDC’s exact numbers from the most recent Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker here:
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