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After four years, Windows Phone still struggles to make a dent in smartphone market share, while iOS and Android dominates.

Cortana’s implementation into Windows Phone 8.1 may not help Windows Phone gain much in the way of market share.

Windows Phone has been publicly available for 4 years now, but it’s still behind the likes of Android and iOS, and only has 4-5% market share in all that time. While iOS dropped from 13% to 11.7% due to anticipation for the iPhone 6, Android OS increased its market share from 79.5% to 84.7%. Together, iOS and Android account for 96.4% of the mobile market in smartphones.

Top-Five-Smartphone-Operating-Systems

One thing that may explain the failure of Windows Phone to break through the iOS-Android hegemony concerns the fact that Windows Phone didn’t arrive until four years ago, Windows Phone being a “johnny-come-lately” when compared with the likes of iOS (2007) and Android (2008). Another factor behind the Windows Phone failure may stem from the lack of apps available on Windows Phone. In many a spec war between Android and iOS in years past, iOS has always come out the winner because of the number of apps available in the App Store as opposed to the number of apps available in the Google Play Store.

Although the scene is changing, iOS developers are still making more money from their apps than Android developers. Unless Windows Phone gains a majority of popular apps that can be found on its OS competitors, we’ll continue to see Windows Phone in the same position it is in right now.

See Also: Microsoft announces 300,000 apps in the Windows Phone Store.

Last but not least, customization may be the key to winning a number of Android users over to Windows Phone. A number of iOS users in the last two years have publicly announced their switch to Windows Phone, and their rationale for doing so is obvious: in many ways, Windows Phone provides some functionality akin to iOS and Android, but Windows Phone holds back a bit as compared to Android OS and skins such as Sense UI, TouchWiz, and others. iOS users who don’t like a lot of software (and dread the idea of skins) find Windows Phone to be a welcome alternative with its LiveTiles setup that is highly customizable.

See Also: iOS’s back doors are accessible by Apple and the Government, Hacker says.

Still, even with the Windows Phone LiveTile customization, there’s a greater need for software implementation and customization. Cortana will prove to be a welcome new digital voice assistant for Windows Phone, but Android users who are committed to Android want more software features that are more well implemented than the competition. For example, of all the Window Phone reviews we’ve read about Lumia phones, for instance, we hear so very little about the different types of software available to Windows Phone users that allow you to select different camera filters for your photos, or camera features that allow you to blur your pictures to create an artistic flair. These types of features are discussed in Android all the time, but seem foreign whenever tech analysts and writers discuss Windows Phone.

See Also: Android 4.4.4 KitKat brings more Google Nexus 5 issues.

What’ll it take for Windows Phone to make a comeback? Microsoft has already dropped the licensing fees that once stood between Windows Phone and manufacturers, so one thing remains: there is a need to bring more manufacturers and developers to the platform. And Microsoft, who now owns Nokia’s mobile division, must provide more innovative software features so that consumers, at least, come to want Windows Phone above the competition. More customization and software will attract more customers, who’ll then attract more developers and manufacturers.

Looking at the growth of the four year old operation system, we are curious for the Samsung Tizen OS and Intel OS which are yet to be launched.

Source: IDC

7 COMMENTS

  1. “In many a spec war between Android and iOS in years past, iOS has always come out the winner because of the number of apps available in the App Store as opposed to the number of apps available in the Google Play Store.”

    — The Google Play store has had more apps than the App Store for some time now.

    “…for instance, we hear so very little about the different types of software available to Windows Phone users that allow you to select different camera filters for your photos, or camera features that allow you to blur your pictures to create an artistic flair.”

    — I’m not sure what reviews you’re reading, but camera and photo editing apps are one of the largest categories in the Windows Phone Store.

    “…there is a need to bring more manufacturers and developers to the platform.”

    — Developers, yes. Although the number of developers investing in WP has grown exceptionally in the past year.

    Manufacturers? Nearly every manufacturer has signed on, including small, regional phone makers. Including Samsung, HTC, LG, Lenova, Huawei and 10 or so regional manufacturers that you’ve probably never heard of.

  2. This article is more empty assumptions than actual analysis. X users might like this, or that… The reality is that many people choose for many different reasons. iOS are mainly chosen because of their brand name, Android is the most widespread on most phones out there. People know it and feel comfortable with it. Personally, I do not like the tiles on Microsoft’s phones and I prefer icons.

  3. One of the things that has turned many people off is the lack of looking like a computer screen. Both the iOS and Android screens look just like a computer monitor while the Windows Phone screen does not look close to a computer monitor. What needs to happen is to make a huge effort to get a Windows Phone into the hands of consumers and teach them how the system works so they will give it a fair look instead of just turning their noses up about the start screen.
    My first smartphone was a Lumia 900 and I have a Lumia 925 right now. It has a very good camera and some really good apps to go with it. The Lumia 1020 is probably the best camera phone on the market to the point that Samsung, Apple, and LG are competing with it on quality of picture taking.
    If Microsoft can get people to get past the screen and try the phone there will be many more people moving to Windows Phone than at present time. It is easier to put personal items right on the start screen with a tile or to remove one from that screen. I have tried doing the same things on an Android phone that my wife has and it so much more effort to do especially since we are older, 64 and 58 years of age. She fusses all the time because she does not understand how the Android phone works. She originally had a Windows Phone but got the one she got because it was water proof since she dropped her other phone into the toilet accidentally. She is terrified that it will happen again.

    • Both Android and iOS look like legacy iconic computer screens which they are. The whole Start Screen metaphor which is customizable is very fluid and productive once you get use to it which takes only a couple of hours. I’ve still got my Lumia 900 with WP7.8 but want a Lumia 930 ith WP8.1 but AT&T doesn’t caryy that device just the 1020 and 1520. Oh, well my subscription is down to $50 a month and the Lumia 900 is just fine.

      • That is precisely why I like the Windows ecosystem. I wanted something that looked very different from my computer but still was easy to operate. As for the time spent learning it I don’t see that it was so much harder than the others. I went to Windows first so my learning curve was not so hard as many have complained going from the others to Windows.
        When you look at pictures of phones from different carriers and manufacturers you can instantly spot the Windows phone from the other two major systems. It has a very different look. For the others I have to look at closely to try to figure out which is which and then I have to read about it to finally find out.

  4. Well if WP sells 30 million phones at $400 per year isn’t that $12 billion in revenue they should be able to make $1-2 billion profit on? That’s no Apple or Samsung but neither Apple or Samsung have any enterprise ecosystem revenues either. MS should stay the course and sell WP as a devices for Windows users. Who cares about tech challenged consumers anyway?

  5. I believe Windows Phone is selling more units. However, the market is expanding. Bing is gaining more and more steam. Conversational search (that actually works unlike Googles) and Technical searches are really much better. Nothing like that is available on Google. With the growth of Bing, so too will the growth of Windows Phone.

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